- City Services
- Water Conservation
- Lawn & Landscape Watering Policy
Lawn & Landscape Watering Policy
All properties in Woodbury must follow the lawn and landscape watering policy, unless operating under a State of Minnesota Water Appropriations Permit.
Residents are allowed to water their lawns for one weekday and one weekend day per week. Commercial properties are allowed to water on Fridays. Homeowner associations follow the designated residential irrigation zone days. Lawn Watering is not allowed between noon and 5 p.m., even on your designated irrigation days.
Irrigation Zone Map
Review the adjacent map or enter your property address into the Irrigation Zone Map to find out which days you are allowed to water. You can also view a printable Irrigation Zone Map (PDF).
- Zone A: Residents may water on Monday and Saturday
- Zone B: Residents may water on Tuesday and Saturday
- Zone C: Residents may water on Wednesday and Sunday
- Zone D: Residents may water on Thursday and Sunday
Automatic sprinkling systems must be set to comply with both the zone schedule and the hours of the day when lawn watering is permitted.
The watering policy applies only to lawn watering. There are no restrictions on filling pools or washing cars. Watering of shrubs, flowers, or other landscaping vegetation is permitted on a property's non-watering day when done by hand and the watering device is personally tended. However, water loss is greatest between noon and 5 p.m. and users are encouraged not to water during this time.
The policy covers all of Woodbury, regardless if you are located on a private well or city water. Sports fields, golf courses, commercial nurseries, agricultural, and horticultural businesses are exempt from watering restrictions but are encouraged to employ water efficiently to the greatest extent possible.
Failure to comply with the Woodbury watering policy is a violation of City Code. Violators may be issued an administrative citation. First-time offenders are not exempt.
This policy is enforced year-round.
- Why was the lawn & landscape policy changed?
- It’s better for lawns. Irrigating fewer days – but applying a deeper soaking on the designated days – is more effective in stimulating and maintaining healthy growth. In addition, many studies show that one inch of water per week, including rainfall, is all a lawn needs to remain healthy. Irrigating two days per week – instead of up to four with the previous odd/even schedule – will continue to provide sufficient time to meet the one-inch-per-week guideline.
- Woodbury is a leader in environmental sustainability. Woodbury has a long history of serving as a regional leader in environmental sustainability. The city was one of the first to institute an odd/even and time-of-day lawn watering policy many years ago and its water efficiency programs have been emulated in other metro communities in recent years. Changing the lawn watering policy is an important action for protecting the long-term sustainability of the aquifer (Woodbury’s drinking water source).
- It helps manage water system operations. Pumping less water lessens the impact on the drinking water system infrastructure, which decreases the frequency of needed repairs and replacements, and supports system resiliency.
- It Reduces the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Minnesota Department of Health is expected to increase its health standards for PFAS in 2023 and subsequently issue health advisories on as many as eight additional drinking water production wells in Woodbury. While the city is treating six of its wells at the temporary treatment plant and working on adding interim treatment at three additional well sites for operation beginning in 2024, it will be challenging to limit the impact of PFAS by not using these eight wells and continue to meet water demand, especially during the summer watering months.
- When did the update two days per week policy go into effect?
The policy change went into effect on Thursday, April 27, 2023, and is in effect year-round.
- How do I know which days to water/which watering zone I am in?
To learn which days each property is allowed to water, view the Irrigation Zone Map or enter your address in the interactive online Irrigation Zone Map. The daily noon to 5 p.m. watering restriction will remain in place.
Commercial properties may water on Fridays. Homeowners Associations (HOAs) must follow the residential Irrigation Zone Map.
- How were the irrigation zones determined?
The city wanted each residential zone to have one weekend day and one weekday to water, with Fridays designated for commercial property irrigation. To achieve this goal while balancing other goals—reducing PFAS impacts, minimizing system demand, managing system peaking factor and still allowing time for adequate irrigation—there would always be a zone with a four-day gap.
The city contracted an engineering firm to model the city's water system. Multiple iterations/variances in the zones were evaluated. The outcome of the effort determined the current zone system was the best for the community in achieving the multiple goals outlined.
Through this process, staff continues to monitor feedback from the community and will continue to evaluate the need and ability to make changes and improvements to the current policy following the 2023 irrigation season.
- I have a private well; do I still need to follow the Lawn Watering Policy?
Yes, all irrigation systems within Woodbury need to follow the regulations. The only exception is wells that hold their own Minnesota Department of Natural Resources appropriation permit.
- When can homeowner associations irrigate?
Homeowner associations will follow the same regulations as residential zones (based on their location). They may water up to one weekday and one weekend day per week.
- When can commercial, industrial, institutional properties (schools/churches) irrigate?
Commercial properties may water on Fridays only.
Irrigation systems at commercial properties are larger and are often located in areas in town that are more visual, so it is more noticeable when these properties are not following the Lawn & Landscape Watering Policy. If commercial properties are not following the policy (they are allowed to water Fridays only but not between noon and 5 p.m.), they are subject to the same fines as residential properties and homeowners associations.
Like residential properties, commercial properties may apply for a special use watering permit for new seed or sod, which allows watering daily for up to two weeks. With this permit, the property must still comply with the no watering between noon and 5 p.m. rule. City staff assesses permit applications and monitors the sites during the permitted time. There is a limit of two permits per year for each property.
- What if I am planting new seed/sod?
New seed/sod permits will still be available for 14 consecutive days of watering. Apply for this permit online.
- I’m worried about my grass dying. How can I protect it?
With two day per week watering, your lawn should not die. A healthy lawn requires one inch of water (including rainfall) per week. In addition, watering fewer days – but applying a deeper soaking – is more effective in stimulating and maintaining healthy growth.
- What happens if the lawn watering policy is violated?
The property owner will be issued an administrative citation and fined $50 for the first offense, with the fine doubling with each subsequent offense within the same calendar year.
- What about other outdoor water uses?
The policy regulates lawn and landscape watering only: other outdoor water uses including, but not limited to, car washing and filling of swimming pools are not impacted. Watering of shrubs, flowers, or other landscaping vegetation when done by hand is permitted at any time. This includes using a hose, watering can, or similar implement.
- How do I reprogram my irrigation controller?
Irrigation system controllers should be reprogrammed to water on the new days or use the manual setting to operate the system on the appropriate day for the designated zone. If you purchased a Rachio smart irrigation controller through the city, tips on running your system are available via the Rachio Help Center.
You can also watch a video on how to reprogram your controller on our YouTube channel.
Woodbury residents who have not purchased a smart controller and have a system that was installed before 2020 should consider purchasing one at a discount offered to Woodbury residents. Visit the Smart Irrigation Controller Program page to learn more.
- What is the one inch of water per week guideline?
Many sources, including the University of Minnesota Extension, indicate that one inch of water per week, including rainfall, is all your lawn needs to be healthy.
- The 2021 elevated watering restrictions were enforced during extreme drought conditions. Why do we need these policy changes in a non-drought year?
While we are not currently in a drought, this change is needed to manage water use and system operation, support the long-term sustainability of the aquifer, and assist in the mitigation PFAS in the municipal water system.
- I notice properties irrigating on the sidewalk or street. Can anything be done to reduce this?
If you have an automatic irrigation system, check the heads periodically to be sure they haven't shifted direction to spray water on the side of a building, driveway, or sidewalk instead of the lawn.
While there is nothing specific in the policy relating to irrigation runoff on sidewalks or streets, staff does reach out to the property owners and managers to discuss best practices for conservation, including addressing misaligned sprinkler heads.
If you are concerned about a property watering on pavement, please contact Public Works at 651-714-3720 or send an email. Staff will attempt, as time allows, to contact the property owner to inform them of their systems apparent mechanical issue.