New irrigation design standards proposed in Cape Coral
CAPE CORAL, Fla.– The city of Cape Coral is considering a proposed ordinance that would require new homes to follow design standards when building new irrigation systems.
Population growth has given rise to water conservation problems, waste of water supplies, and a decline in water quality in the city.
Currently, the city regulates when people can use their irrigation systems with a watering schedule. The city has never regulated standards for how those systems operate and what is installed.
The city now wants to further regulate those private irrigation systems to strengthen water conservation efforts and protect the environment.
Scott King is a state certified irrigation contractor working with the city on what should be included in the ordinance.
He said most irrigation systems in the city were never installed with any basic efficiency standards and use more water than they need to.
“Typically, for every gallon that’s put out on a lawn, 50% of it can be attributed to waste and misuse,” King said.
“That creates a runoff issue with chemicals that would wind up in our waterway, and it also creates a huge water demand issue.”
He said an ordinance would do a lot to curb the excessive use.
It would only apply to new construction or those who put $1,000 or more in repairs into their existing systems.
“It’s a tall order to retrofit a lot of existing irrigation systems. There may be 55,000 or more of them out there,” he said.
“At least the new construction ones, which are going to be a lot more than 55,000 when Cape Coral’s built out, will at least have these standards in place.”
Cape Coral Utilities Director Jeff Pearson said there would be some incentives to spend the money upgrading your existing systems too.
“We’re proposing that smart controllers be installed and if people upgraded to these smart controllers, or installed them in a new system, they would not have to follow the two days per week for four hours each day watering restrictions,” Pearson said.
The smart controllers monitor the conditions of your lawn’s soil, as opposed to only using a timer.
Pearson said the standards adopted by the ordinance would come from Appendix F of Florida’s building code.
The city would use that as a base for their irrigation design standard.
By further regulating the irrigation systems, they’re hopeful it would prevent issues like excessive water runoff, private wells from drying up, and freshwater canal levels from getting too low.
The ordinance is a proposed draft and was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting. There will be no vote yet.
If you are interested in learning more about efficient irrigation systems or this proposed ordinance, there will be a town hall-style meeting Saturday, April 17th.
Councilmember Tom Hayden will be hosting it from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Green Room at the City of Cape Coral Public Works Building. Both Pearson and King will be present to answer questions and give information.
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