Sprinkler Controller Recommendations in Drought Regions

In much of the Western US, we have been dealing with a drought, and in dessert regions that rely heavily on irrigated water supplies by Irrigation districts. One such district (Kennewick Irrigation District www.kid.org) will be enforcing a Weekly mixed AM/PM schedule to a majority of its customers based on the last digit of the address number.

Here is the Water schedule KID will be enforcing starting May 31st:

The enforcement schedule is as follows:

1.    Enforcement of water availability schedule:
a.    1st and 2nd offense of watering on any day other than assigned, warning issued to property owner;
b.    3rd  offense of watering on any day other than assigned will be charged a $100.00 penalty and valve locked off for seven calendar days;
c.    4th offense of watering on any day other than assigned will be charged a $100.00 penalty to property owner and water locked off for remainder of season;
2.    Tampering with lock:
a.    Removal of lock by any person other than an authorized KID employee will result in a $500.00 charge payable prior to water service being reestablished.
b.    2nd offense will result in the irrigation service being capped for the remainder of the season with the District seeking prosecution with the county prosecutor for tampering with a public facility.
3.    Appeals:
a.    All charges may be appealed during the annual Board of Equalization.
b.    A landowner may appeal a lock off or capping of a turn out to the Board of Directors.

Problem this schedule poses for some automated controllers:

Some of the reasons property/home owners invest in underground sprinkler systems, are to have green lawns, automation, and because it is required by local associations governments. There are a couple issues with the enforced watering schedule, which may require a change of your controller. One some controllers do not allow you to select time of the day (just how many times a day you want to water), and many controllers only allow you to run one schedule per day. If you have a house number that ends with 3,4,6,7,8 or 9 you will want a good controller. You don’t have to break the bank to get one they start at $21, much cheaper then $100 fine and loosing your irrigation water for the season along with your grass.

Rain Bird SST400I/SST600I/SST900I/SST1200I and outdoor versions- (Warning only works with 1, 2, 5, or 8 schedules)  I Do Not Recommend these timers very limited scheduling.

This and similar versions only allow you to schedule the day, first start time, interval, and how many times a day. From personal experience it is easy but not flexible enough to meet the schedule requirements by KID. If you are lucky enough to have either a (house number ending with) 1,2, 5 or 8 watering schedule you can make this work by selecting the required days, set start time in AM or PM time that will finish all zones, 30 minute interval – Important, and only set it to water each zone once. If you select more then once per day to water with this controller you will be violating the scheduled time. This controller will not work for Mixed AM/PM schedules.

Indoor Orbit Controller (Cheapest Option for 4/6 zones $21/$25)

A/B Schedule 8 watering times – weekly schedules – you can run both A and B Schedules. This is perfect for the more advanced 3,4,6,7,8 or 9 watering schedules posted above. I recommend setting A to your AM scheduled day, and B to your PM scheduled day. Make sure your timer is set to auto and both A and B schedules are activated.

4 – Zone – http://www.lowes.com/pd_50605-74985-28954___?productId=3506632&pl=1&Ntt=sprinkler+controllers

6 – Zone – http://www.lowes.com/pd_50606-74985-28956___?productId=3506634&pl=1&Ntt=sprinkler+controllers

Indoor/Outdoor Orbit Controller

A/B Schedule 8 watering times – weekly schedules – you can run both A and B Schedules. This is perfect for the more advanced 3,4,6,7,8 or 9 watering schedules posted above. I recommend setting A to your AM scheduled day, and B to your PM scheduled day. Make sure your timer is set to auto and both A and B schedules are activated. You can purchase here: http://amzn.to/1SxmJPl  (select 4, 6, 9, or 12 zone option)

For those of you with the Lowes Iris Home Automation System:

This one is the same as the 12-Station indoor/outdoor above, only that it can be paired with your Iris Controller and managed from your computer/smartphone/tablet.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_587056-74985-27396___?productId=50134682&pl=1&Ntt=sprinkler+controllers