Rain sensors signal water savings in Orange County

MAITLAND, Fla., Aug. 22, 2016 — Building upon a multi-pronged strategy to reduce water use, the St. Johns River Water Management District continues its funding partnership with Orange County Utilities for a rain sensor replacement project.

“Because irrigation of lawns and landscape can be more than half of residential water use, outdoor water conservation saves water and money. We’re proud to partner with Orange County Utilities on this project,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “As we work to ensure a sufficient water supply for users and the environment, conservation plays a key role in meeting future water demands.”

“This collaborative program, between SJRWMD and Orange County Utilities, complements our water conservation efforts by encouraging the maintenance of rain sensors as part of an overall strategy that homeowners can use to reduce their usage,” said Orange County Utilities manager Jacqueline Torbert. “We are excited about this opportunity to offer new sensors to our customers and appreciate the support of our partners.”

Knowing that irrigation systems can consume the majority of residential water use, the project aims to replace 1,100 old, inoperable rain sensors at residences identified as high water users who use a potable irrigation supply. Paired with irrigation audits and education, the new sensors will help residences lower their water demand and save an estimated 107.25 million gallons of water over three years. The current project complements previous irrigation systems improvements.

The targeted area for the new sensors falls within the boundaries of the Central Florida Water Initiative, a collaborative and multi-jurisdictional water supply planning effort that develops strategies to meet future water demands.

Orange County Utilities’ rain sensor replacement project received $49,150 from the district’s cost-share program, which assists in funding projects related to enhancing water conservation efforts as well as developing sustainable water resources and providing flood protection. The total project cost is $98,300. Orange County Utility customers who are unsure whether their rain sensor is operating appropriately are encouraged to contact Orange County Utilities Project Coordinator Matt Blowers at 407-254-9835 to see if they qualify for a replacement.