PDA

View Full Version : Ouch! City budget woes.


DanaMac
02-26-2009, 08:05 AM
I have mentioned that our water rates are going up (about 41%), and everybody is having budget cuts. City parks and medians will be fairly brown this year unless we get a lot of rain. At an earlier Ewing seminar, I found out that the city folks would be trying to get away with 12" of total water for the year (article now says 11"). and that Kentucky bluegrass here needs about 24". the city is going to get a lot of nasty phone calls this summer. But, that's what happens with K. bluegrass at 6500', in a semi-arid desert climate, when water is limited. Our average precip total is about 12" total. Some of that is snow fall, and the rainfall often comes in monsoon style storms where great amounts fall in one shot. Gonna be a fun year.

Water budget woes (http://www.gazette.com/articles/water_48787___article.html/city_parks.html)

Wet_Boots
02-26-2009, 08:41 AM
What could they replant with?

Tom Tom
02-26-2009, 08:56 AM
I'm really curious how many of our parks have smart controllers.

I've noticed last year the medians on Union blvd. are watered mon,wed,fri no matter what the conditions are. Huge excesses of water running down the road.

I'm thinking a lot of the parks have poorly run and maintained systems with DU's barely above 50%.

Maybe we could adopt a park system?

hoskm01
02-26-2009, 09:01 AM
What could they replant with?
Tall Fescue. Weve got a prop with mostly tall fescue, but for the park in K bluegrass. Takes about half the water to look decent. It is not a "fine" or very soft grass, but looks good cut weekly, so a fine substitute IMO.

DanaMac
02-26-2009, 09:02 AM
Hey Tom - I saw two systems running yesterday. One was an HOA common area in Stetson Hills. Another was an apartment complex on Austin Bluffs near Woodmen. I hope they realize their yearly budget is going to sacrifice by watering now.

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-26-2009, 09:11 AM
Here is the key sentence in that article inmo:

There are ways to make the water budget go further. The city could add wetting agents to help the water penetrate the ground, or replace decades-old sprinklers with more efficient systems.

At this point it doesn't do the city parks any good but it can be used to show residential and business owners the importance of upgrading and not waiting. Also off the wall thinking but what if a private individual spearheaded an effort to get donations from businesses or supply houses or manufacturers water conserving products.

hoskm01
02-26-2009, 09:11 AM
Hey Tom - I saw two systems running yesterday. One was an HOA common area in Stetson Hills. Another was an apartment complex on Austin Bluffs near Woodmen. I hope they realize their yearly budget is going to sacrifice by watering now.
Dana,

Interesting thought that weve considered putting in to place.

An irrigator or Landscape company will go in and put in a central control/et system and take over regular irrigation maintenance, free of charge, at an HOA or comm property. You foot the bill for the new controllers, thence, track water use and water saved over the past couple years and take a fair portion of the savings, paid to you by the customer. Depending on the irrigation management before you came along, you could make well more than you would have charged for a contract. Of course you charge for your normal head repairs and so on.

Of course a thourough review of the property and its current and past usage would have to be done to determine pheasability.

Tom Tom
02-26-2009, 09:13 AM
Hey Tom - I saw two systems running yesterday. One was an HOA common area in Stetson Hills. Another was an apartment complex on Austin Bluffs near Woodmen. I hope they realize their yearly budget is going to sacrifice by watering now.


Shamwow! Looks like an early start to the season?

hoskm01
02-26-2009, 09:13 AM
Here is the key sentence in that article inmo:



At this point it doesn't do the city parks any good but it can be used to show residential and business owners the importance of upgrading and not waiting. Also off the wall thinking but what if a private individual spearheaded an effort to get donations from businesses or supply houses or manufacturers water conserving products.
a 40% water savings could easily be realized with todays efficiency measures, thus keeping the grass green for the same price.

That upfront money would be a problem, to make the upgrades.

DanaMac
02-26-2009, 09:16 AM
Dana,

Interesting thought that weve considered putting in to place.

An irrigator or Landscape company will go in and put in a central control/et system and take over regular irrigation maintenance, free of charge, at an HOA or comm property. You foot the bill for the new controllers, thence, track water use and water saved over the past couple years and take a fair portion of the savings, paid to you by the customer. Depending on the irrigation management before you came along, you could make well more than you would have charged for a contract. Of course you charge for your normal head repairs and so on.

Of course a thourough review of the property and its current and past usage would have to be done to determine pheasability.

I've thought of that for audits too. But since I'm irrigation only, not many large complexes have two contractors - lawn maintenance and irrigation. Just as you wouldn't want another company touching the irrigation on one of your properties. But I think it is a great idea.

DanaMac
02-26-2009, 09:17 AM
That upfront money would be a problem, to make the upgrades.

they don't have enough in the budgets for water, workers, new vehicles. So doubtful they have budgets for new systems, or serious upgrades.

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-26-2009, 09:18 AM
w0w 41 %


I'm going to use that in my "you should upgrade to a rainsensor this year" pitch.

Tom Tom
02-26-2009, 09:21 AM
w0w 41 %


I'm going to use that in my "you should upgrade to a rainsensor this year" pitch.

Go beyond the rain sensor, smart based controllers/soil sensors only

Tom Tom
02-26-2009, 09:29 AM
they don't have enough in the budgets for water, workers, new vehicles. So doubtful they have budgets for new systems, or serious upgrades.



It could be possible to pay for upgrades in 1 or 2 years considering the increase in water rates, rebates available for smart controllers, etc.

Of course, not for all systems.

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-26-2009, 09:38 AM
Here is another option. I'm looking into this stuff.

http://www.fieldturf.com/

DanaMac
02-26-2009, 09:42 AM
Here is another option. I'm looking into this stuff.

http://www.fieldturf.com/

That was talked about a lot in 2002, with the drought issues. I got a few sample packs as I was also looking into it. Some guys do it, I think it sucks for homes. Tacky looking for residential IMO. I have two customers with it, and zones were converted for shrubs surrounding it.

Mike Leary
02-26-2009, 09:43 AM
That upfront money would be a problem, to make the upgrades.

Therein lies the lag, but it's a damn good idea that Russ and I have considered concerning going Central.

Kiril
02-26-2009, 11:11 AM
...... wait for it ..... wait for it ...... TURF IS EVIL!

Let us consider this.

Irrigation water management has three facets .... water, soil, plants. You cannot effectively manage one without managing the others. The sooner people realize this the sooner we can start making progress on this front.

Use regionally appropriate plants, establishing mycorrhizal associations with your plants, maintain SOM at appropriate levels, proper nutrient management (via SOM), etc... These are all items that need to be directly addressed in any water management program.

How is it done now? People schedule irrigation to elicit a desired growth response, and in the case of turf, to support a growth rate that warrants the weekly mow & blow by your lawn jockey. Most "management" programs just dump water (in excess) on a landscape, completely ignoring the other factors that come into play. No one is managing the soils, and the plants are only maintained, not nurtured.

Time to wake up people!

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-26-2009, 12:06 PM
...... wait for it ..... wait for it ...... TURF IS EVIL!

Let us consider this.

Irrigation water management has three facets .... water, soil, plants. You cannot effectively manage one without managing the others. The sooner people realize this the sooner we can start making progress on this front.

Use regionally appropriate plants, establishing mycorrhizal associations with your plants, maintain SOM at appropriate levels, proper nutrient management (via SOM), etc... These are all items that need to be directly addressed in any water management program.

How is it done now? People schedule irrigation to elicit a desired growth response, and in the case of turf, to support a growth rate that warrants the weekly mow & blow by your lawn jockey. Most "management" programs just dump water (in excess) on a landscape, completely ignoring the other factors that come into play. No one is managing the soils, and the plants are only maintained, not nurtured.

Time to wake up people!

Do you get into a lot of arguments with customers?

Kiril
02-26-2009, 12:40 PM
Do you get into a lot of arguments with customers?

No.

1) Most all customers trust me to make the appropriate management decisions without question.

2) Customer is always right.

I always make the sustainable pitch ... and when the customer can equate that with a reduction in management costs ... well it is not a hard sell. Hardest part is convincing people to break the "traditional" line of thinking, and to invest (up front costs) in a program that will achieve the end goal.

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-26-2009, 01:11 PM
Go beyond the rain sensor, smart based controllers/soil sensors only


I wish...

I wish..

people here have a abundance of water compared to everywhere else

AI Inc
02-26-2009, 01:56 PM
Yes we do. The flow from the Merimac river basin into the Atlantic ocean is a million gallons every 5 minutes . Thats a yr round average, during spring its a million every 2 minutes.

EagleLandscape
02-26-2009, 02:42 PM
smartline em

sounds like the perfect opportunity for a very smart irrigator to go in and put together some upgrade proposals:)