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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.
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The policy change went into effect on Thursday, April 27, 2023, and is in effect year-round.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New seed/sod permits will still be available for 14 consecutive days of watering. Apply for this permit online.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.