City leads by example with computerized water irrigation

The computerized irrigation system the city fired up last year is closer to completion, according to public works manager Larry Abenante.

It was implemented by the city as a Water Smart Initiative in conjunction with the Conservation Trust to reduce the usage of water by 20 per cent in the community by 2015.

“It’s pretty difficult to try and persuade citizens that all of a sudden conservation of water is of the utmost importance given that we have all the water we’re ever going to need traveling under our bridge,” said Trail Councillor Gord DeRosa, who is a member of the Water Smart Committee as well.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to use no more than they have to.

“I think the citizens of Trail understand and will understand but in the whole grand scheme of things it’s of the utmost importance that the city show leadership, teach by example and that’s where that automatic sprinkler system came in.”

Currently, flow meters are being installed and the project is expected to be done by the end of the month.

“It really doesn’t look proper when we tell the community we’re on water conservation measures starting June 1 … and then you look at the city of Trail and they’re the biggest users — it’s pouring rain and they’re watering. We’re trying to set an example,” Abenante said.

“Unfortunately, the ones that are visible when you drive through town — like the approaches by the bridge — are still going to be shooting water when it’s raining because it’s so costly to put the computerized areas in small areas but we’ve got them on all of our big spaces like Gyro Park” he added.

The system senses moisture in the air and ground and adjusts itself accordingly, based on programmed information from public works and local weather stations. If there is a problem with an irrigation line or sprinkler head, a report will be generated and flagged, meaning that crews no longer have to physically check if each zone is working.

The new flow meters will allow the city to directly monitor how much water is used by each zone and the department can override the system directly from the office, rather than from individual sites.

Although exact numbers won’t be available until the end of this year and comparisons until 2012, Warren Proulx, engineering technician with the city, said financial savings will also be a result of the new system.

“There’s probably 10 or 15 factors that go into conserving money, it’s not just the water we’re saving, it’s the money we’re saving too.”

Residents are reminded that water restrictions are in effect June 1 through to September 30.