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Are These Devices Actually Watering Smart? Ridgewood Council Discusses

Patch logo Patch 8/9/2022 Logan Williamson
Smart irrigation controllers were discussed at length at the Ridgewood Village Council meeting last week, and how the council should address concerns regarding them. © Shutterstock Smart irrigation controllers were discussed at length at the Ridgewood Village Council meeting last week, and how the council should address concerns regarding them.

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — Placards with the words, "This property is watering smart," are assumed placed on more than 290 properties in the Ridgewood, in compliance with a condition of a permit for smart irrigation controllers. But the village council and residents are questioning if permit-holders are actually watering smart or trying to buck the system.

In 2017, two changes were made to the village's water conservation ordinance, one of which limited outdoor watering to two days per week, and the other which allowed an exemption to those restrictions to those who have a smart controller, Ridgewood Water Director Richard Calbi said at the council meeting last week.

As such, one Ridgewood resident argued, "It seems that people with smart controllers are entitled to water more often than those who are not."

However, this smart controller, which is pre-programmed to use real-time weather and soil information, was allowed the exemption, Calbi said, because studies showed that the device saved the average home thousands of gallons of water per year. But questions lingered as to whether that was actually the case.

Council members discussed possibly comparing the status of water conservation pre- and post-installation of a smart controller to see if water is, in fact, conserved over a period of time, and if it is, then the ordinance is heeded.

But the concerns didn't stop there.

Although there is not a restriction on the number of days per week a person can water with these devices, there is a time frame mandated for them — midnight to 10 a.m.

But that schedule is not codified within the village ordinance; it is only listed as a condition for possession of the permit, Calbi said.

As a result, people might "bypass the system," the resident said, and the ordinance might not, in effect, enforce the conservation of water.

"People in my neighborhood who have smart controllers seem to water any time they want, any time of the day, any day of the week," the resident added.

Calbi said that his public water supply utility issues numerous summonses and warnings for permit violations year-round, yet he suggested that codifying the permit conditions in the ordinance might help with enforcement.

The article Are These Devices Actually Watering Smart? Ridgewood Council Discusses appeared first on Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch.

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