Firestone decreased its park water usage in 2013 by 37 percent compared to the previous year, resulting in a savings of 36,617,000 gallons of water. The savings are a result of the town converting 10 of its parks to the Rain Master’s iCentral controlled irrigation system, which allows for wireless central control to monitor water usage.
The iCentral system is a comprehensive and affordable web-based water management system that determines the optimal irrigation schedule based on items such as soil texture, plant type, slope, precipitation and more. Based on local weather information sent daily to the controller, the system will automatically modify the irrigation schedule based on daily evapotranspiration and plant watering requirements. The system also features manual programs, flow sensors to detect excess or no flow, and the ability to review reports to show a detailed analysis of the systems efficiency.
Prior to the September flooding, Firestone had received 5.27 inches of precipitation. The flooding brought an additional 8.44 inches of rain. This year was on track to be dryer than 2012, making Firestone’s water savings on the iCentral system remarkable.
The 2013 water usage was 28 percent less than 2011, and 25 percent less than 2010. The precipitation for 2011 and 2010 was considered just below average and right at average for the area at 14.15 inches per year.
Firestone plans to increase the number of parks on the iCentral system, with an additional six parks and open space areas to be converted to the system in 2014.
The majority of funding for the controllers came mainly from housing or business developers. Remaining costs were covered through grant funding and the Parks Fund.