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City News

Posted on: April 27, 2023

Lawn watering now allowed two days per week

Lawn Watering Alert

A map showing the irrigation zones in Woodbury (click for interactive version)In late April, the city updated its lawn-watering policy to allow lawn watering two days per week.

Residents are allowed to water their lawns on 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.

To learn which days each property is allowed to water, view the adjacent map or visit enter your address into the interactive Irrigation Zone Map. Lawn watering will still be prohibited between noon and 5 p.m. every day.

 Why was the 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.
  • It helps manage water system operations. Pumping less water lessens the impact on the water system infrastructure, which decreases the frequency of needed repairs and replacements.
  • Reduces the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Minnesota Department of Health is expected to eventually increase its health standards for PFAS and subsequently issue health advisories on as many as eight additional water production wells. 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 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. Learn more on the PFAS page.

The new two-days-per-week lawn watering schedule was already in city policy for emergencies. In summer 2021, the city used it when the Department of Natural Resources issued a drought designation for the Woodbury area. The city estimates that implementation of the policy reduced water use by at least 120 million gallons between when the elevated restrictions were implemented at the end of July 2021 through first week of September 2021. 

“This change is simply the right thing to do and now is the right time,” explained Mayor Anne Burt. “Residents and irrigation system management companies should reprogram their controllers when preparing their irrigation systems for operation this summer. We appreciate your cooperation. Together, we can make a big difference.”

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 included in this policy update. 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.

Reprogram Irrigation Controllers

Irrigation system controllers should be reprogrammed to water on the new day(s) 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. We have also created a step-by-step video for residents, available on our YouTube channel. Watch now.

Smart Irrigation Controller Program

Property owners who have an irrigation system that was installed before 2020 and don’t have an irrigation controller should consider purchasing one at a discount offered to Woodbury residents. These controllers, certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to save at least 20% of outdoor water use, work by connecting to a home’s Wi-Fi and are controlled by a smartphone. Typically retailing for $230, the city’s program allows you to purchase a Rachio Smart Irrigation Controller for only $35 and have it shipped directly to your home. Learn more and purchase a smart irrigation controller

Education & Enforcement

The city is launching an extensive communications and education campaign ahead of enforcement in order to achieve the highest level of compliance with the new rules as quickly as possible.

 The city’s lawn watering policy is in effect year-round and citations are issued for violations; first-time offenders are not exempt. You can apply for a special watering permits for newly-placed sod and seed online. 

 For more information, view the lawn and landscape watering policy or contact Public Works via email or call 651-714-3720.

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