Rate Changes for Pasco County Utilities Customers

Residents Save Money Using Smart Irrigation Technology

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on July 20, 2023

Like so many technologies that have evolved, irrigation controllers have come a long way in recent years.

Residents Save Money Using Smart Irrigation Technology

Today’s weather-based controllers simplify irrigation while maintaining a beautiful landscape, saving water, and saving money. Citrus County Utilities (CCU) is taking advantage of that technology. One program, focused on 434 of CCU’s highest water users, has saved customers nearly $300,000 on water bills and one hundred million gallons of water over a four-year period.

To promote the benefits of advanced irrigation technology and efficient irrigation practices, the Citrus
County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) proclaimed July 2023 as Smart Irrigation Month. It is
the seventh consecutive year that the BOCC has supported this initiative.

Ken Cheek, Citrus County Department of Water Resources Director, says about fifty percent of the
utility’s residential water supply is used for landscape irrigation. “We have to be smarter about how we
use water and cut back when the landscape doesn’t need to be irrigated,” said Cheek.

Smart irrigation technology does just that. It reduces irrigation after heavy rainfall and during cooler
months when grass doesn’t need as much. “July is hot in Florida and a peak month for irrigation water
use,” said Cheek. He added that Smart Irrigation Month is a good time to highlight technologies that
customers can benefit from.
Smart Irrigation Month is also a great opportunity for landscape companies to promote services, such as:

  • Helping customers plant and maintain a Florida-Friendly landscape that can thrive in Citrus County’s
    climate and site conditions.
  • Installing Water-Sense labeled irrigation controllers that use real-time weather data to automatically
    adjust watering to meet plant needs.
  • Separating irrigation in landscape beds from turf and install low-volume micro-irrigation to apply
    small amounts of water at the base of plants that minimizes evaporation and waste. (Micro-irrigation is
    not limited by day of week and time of day irrigation restrictions.)
  • Adding or replacing rain sensors to prevent watering in rainy weather.
  • Helping customers program irrigation controllers to comply with watering restrictions.
  • Auditing irrigation systems to make sure water is being used effectively.

CCU offers its customers a $100 account credit for upgrading their irrigation controller to a Water-Sense
labeled model. These weather-based fixtures have been independently certified to save, and work as well
or better than standard fixtures.
For more information on weather-based controllers and rebates, visit www.epa.gov/watersense. Smart
Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association.



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