Since July 1, 2012 Charlotte Water has offered a program to incentivize smart water use in the landscape, called the Smart Irrigation Program.
Customers who take the steps to equip their irrigation systems with approved state of the art equipment called smart controllers designed to reduce water demand and curtail water runoff will receive a special irrigation water use rate. In addition, participants will be required to have a separate meter for the irrigation system as well as a fully functioning backflow device.
The new program is estimated to help customers reduce their summer time watering demand by 20 +% and to produce healthier landscapes.
What is a Smart Controller?
A smart controller is a device that initiates the activation of the irrigation system in response to site specific data – such as plant material, soil conditions, slope, sun exposure, wind coefficient, and evapotranspiration rate – all programmed into the device by the installer. In addition the controller maintains a live link to a weather satellite to factor in current weather conditions and recent rain events.
An additional benefit is the ability of the controller to control the application of the water not to exceed the absorption rate of the soil, thereby curtailing excessive runoff to receiving storm drains and waterways.
Charlotte Water no longer maintains a list of approved Smart Controllers (Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers). Consistent with our position of supporting EPA “Water Sense” Labeling for weather based irrigation controllers, we will only be accepting EPA Water Sense approved controller for meeting requirements of the Smart Irrigation Rate Incentive Program after July 1st.2013.
Previously installed and properly functioning controllers meeting the temporary approved list that was published prior to July 1st.2013 can remain in service. Any replacement of smart controllers after July 1st 2013 will have to meet the current requirement of being EPA Water Sense.
A list of approved controllers that will meet the City’s Smart Irrigation Rate Incentive Program requirements is available on the EPA’s Water Sense website.
What are the incentives to participate?
Mandatory Water Restrictions Do Not Apply: During times of drought, if irrigation restrictions are mandated, all Smart Irrigation customers are exempt from the mandates during stages two and three.
Irrigation Meter Purchase: For customers installing a separate irrigation meter, the connection fees associated with the
meter installation can be spread over 12 monthly installments and would be included on the monthly water bill. There are two options for connections – a single split service line and a dedicated service line.
Capacity fees for split service residential irrigation meters have been eliminated as an incentive to participate.
Smart Irrigation Rate: Customers enrolled in the smart irrigation program would have all irrigation use capped at tier three. Currently, irrigation meters are charged at tier 3 and tier 4.
Not all properties are ideally suited for this program. Customers’ irrigation systems should be checked out by a licensed irrigation contractor to determine if it’s a suitable candidate and in proper working condition.
Charlotte Water encourages all interested persons to evaluate the cost of up-fitting their irrigation systems and weighing the potential savings before moving forward.
How to enroll?
The program requires an annual recertification, which consists of submitting the program application and the annual backflow test each year
Please submit the completed forms via fax, email or mail.
1. Smart Irrigation Application
2. Backflow Service Application
City of Charlotte
10101 Claude Freeman Drive, Suite 250W
Charlotte, NC 28262
The criteria for the program, the enrollment forms and instructions are available at the links provided. Once an application is verified and the account is enrolled, the new irrigation rate will be applied to the customer’s bill in the next month’s bill cycle.
For more information, contact CharMeck 311 or email email@example.com.