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Smart Irrigation Controller Program for Residential

Smart Irrigation DistributionProgram Success
To aid in the design of this program, the City of Woodbury completed a two-year pilot program. With help from the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), South Washington Watershed District and Washington County, 460 smart controllers were distributed to homes in Woodbury.

These programs were found to be highly successful, saving each home an average of 30,000 gallons of water each year. Participants reported high satisfaction of the controller technology, ease of installing and annually programming, and additional benefit of controlling/monitoring the irrigation system from a smartphone.

Approximately 1,000 controllers were distributed in 2018. The city will continue to accept applicants throughout the year and will distribute controllers February-June of each year. Complete the survey to be contacted for a controller in 2019.

Sign up for the 2019 waiting list

2018 Smart Controller Program
In an effort to help residents save money by saving water, the city has created the Smart Irrigation Controller Program. Through this program, the City of Woodbury purchases WaterSense-certified smart irrigation controllers in bulk and sells them back to residents for only $20 (retail value: $200).

Please note: City ordinance/state law requires all irrigation systems to have working technology that prevents watering when conditions are wet enough. If you don’t have a working rain or soil moisture sensor, participating in this program puts you in compliance with city and state requirements. Learn more about sensor regulations.

Smart controllers are certified by the EPA to save your home at least 20 percent of your outdoor water use.  Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota have shown these controllers save an average of 49 percent of outdoor water use for homes in Woodbury. They work by connecting to your home’s WiFi and reading local weather reports and forecasts to decide whether or not your yard needs additional water. Smart controllers do this automatically and can be controlled by your smartphone, computer or smart home device.

If accepted into this program, you must pick up your controller within a specified time frame, install and program your new controller (or hire someone to do this work), and provide the city with a photo verifying installation was successful. 

Smart controllers will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and at the discretion of the City of Woodbury. The city reserves the right to refuse any application for any reason that it sees fit. 

Eligibility Criteria
In order to be eligible for a controller, all criteria listed below must be met. Failure to meet any of the following criteria may result in compatibility or functionality issues with your controller:

  1. Must have a currently functional irrigation system.
  2. Existing controller must have been installed prior to 2018.
  3. It is suggested that you contact an irrigation professional to assess the condition of your system prior to application. Run each station for 2-3 minutes, observe any obvious sprinkler problems, and fix them. Common issues to look for are listed below:
    • sprinkler heads that do not turn due to wear
    • sprinkler heads that are misaligned
    • broken or missing sprinkler heads
    • leaking sprinkler heads and pipe connections
    • sprinkler heads bent at an angle
    • sprinkler heads that do not rise above the grass
    • sprinkler heads that do not pop because grass has grown over them
    • sprinkler heads with missing or clogged nozzles
    • pressure problems indicated by misting (high pressure) or weak spray (low pressure)
  4. Must have a Smartphone (necessary to program and to control the controller).
  5. Must have in-home 2.4 GHz OR dual band Wi-Fi access; replacement controller is NOT compatible with 5 GHz. Check your WiFi strength at your existing controller by making sure that your smart phone picks up at least two bars. Poor WiFi may necessitate that you purchase a WiFi booster, the City program does not cover this cost. 
  6. Must be a resident of the City of Woodbury and connected to the city's water supply. 

The smart irrigation controllers will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and at the discretion of the City of Woodbury. The city reserves the right to refuse any application for any reason that it sees fit. 

For more information or questions about the program, the application process, or how you can get involved, please contact Kristin Seaman, environmental resources specialist, at (651) 714-3593 or kristin.seaman@woodburymn.gov.