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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Launches Smart Irrigation Incentive Program
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Contact: Karen Whichard, 704-336-4793

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities has launched a new program designed to encourage residential customers to install and use smart irrigation controllers.

Smart controllers use weather satellite data in combination with plant and site conditions to alter the amount of water used for irrigation based on site specific conditions. Case studies involving this equipment have shown reductions in water use of 20 to 40 percent.

“Smart controllers differ from traditional controllers because they automatically shut off when it is raining, apply water based on weather conditions and do not require seasonal adjustments,” said Maeneen Klein, performance manager, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities. “These controllers are ‘smart’ because they take the guess work out of when to water – the plant material and weather conditions dictate the watering needs and adjust the watering cycle accordingly.”

Customers who install a separate irrigation meter, backflow device and smart controller will have all irrigation usage charged at the tier 3 rate beginning July 1, 2012. Currently, those with irrigation meters are charged at tier 3 and tier 4.

To help off-set the costs of installing a separate irrigation meter, CMUD is waiving the $433 capacity fee for the installation of a single service residential irrigation meter. Additionally, payment of the connection fee for single service or a dedicated service line can now be spread over a 12-month period.

These new incentives were approved during the rate structure changes by City Council in February 2011. The incentives officially went into effect on July 1. The incentive program is a continuation of CMUD’s WaterSmart program, which has helped reduce average household consumption significantly over the last decade.

Currently there are approximately 7,000 irrigation meters in CMUD’s system. That number is expected to rise as state law now requires all new in-ground irrigation systems on land platted after July 1, 2009, and connected to public water systems to have a separate irrigation meter.

Those interested in learning more about the incentives are encouraged to call CharMeck 311 or visit