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Smart Irrigation Controller Program for Residential

Rachio threeIn 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 $35 (retail value: $230). 

The 2019 program is now closed. Distribution for the 2020 program will begin in spring. To be notified when controllers are available, fill out the information below.



About the 2020 Program

Eight- and 16-zone Rachio controllers will be available. More information can be found on the Rachio website including installation videos, customer support and links to purchase outdoor enclosures (this program only provides indoor units, if your controller is located outside you will need to purchase the enclosure on your own). Each home is invited to participate in this program once. See a list of frequently asked questions.

Please note: City ordinance/S
tate 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 Environmental Protection Agency (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 served basis and at the discretion of the City of Woodbury. The city reserves the right to refuse any application for any reason 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. Have not participated in previous irrigation controller programs.
  3. The existing controller must have been installed prior to 2018.
  4. Must be a resident of the City of Woodbury and connected to the city's water supply. Each year, a limited number of controllers will be available to Woodbury residents with private wells. These controllers are funded through partner organizations, like the watershed districts and county.
  5. Must have in-home Wi-Fi access. Check your Wi-Fi strength at your existing controller by making sure that your smartphone picks up at least two bars. Poor Wi-Fi may necessitate that you purchase a Wi-Fi booster, the city program does not cover this cost. 
  6. Must have a smartphone (necessary to program and to operate the controller).

Remember, a smart controller is designed to reduce run-time based on weather. An Irrigation system is further impacted by pressure, leaks, misaligned heads, spraying on hard surfaces, etc. Contact an irrigation professional about these issues. The University of Minnesota Turfgrass has resources available on their website.

Smart Irrigation Distribution
Program 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. 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 installation and programming, and additional benefit of controlling/monitoring the irrigation system from a smartphone.

More than 1,500 controllers were distributed between 2016 and 2018. A waitlist is available if you’re interested in signing up after controllers are sold out.

For more information or questions about the program, the application process, or how you can get involved, please contact the Environmental Division at (651) 714 3593 or email water@woodburymn.gov.