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The Civic Association Water Committee public awareness and education campaign; which has included town-wide direct mail, calls to the biggest water users in Town, 3 workshops, e-blasts, and a new webpage: http://palmbeachcivic.org/news/water; resulted in 118 property managers, owners, irrigation contractors, and landscape architects and contractors attending the workshops.

So far 18 Smart Irrigation systems have been installed and 35 additional inquiries/evaluations of properties have taken place.  Over 20 have signed up for the Town Pilot Program to have their property monitored for the before and after water savings analysis.

“We expect a lot of interest by the end of the season,” said Bob Johnson, President of Superior Sprinkler Systems and the former President of the Florida Irrigation Society.  “Most property owners in Palm Beach place their orders just before the end of the season so the work can be done during the off-season when they are at their summer homes.”

“The Smart Irrigation program by the Civic Association is excellent. It’s something we’ve been trying to implement with clients in Town and this program has jump started it.” Mr. Johnson said. “We expect property owners will save between 60-70% on their water usage.”

This is one of the first Smart Irrigation programs in a municipality in the State of Florida which makes the Town of Palm Beach a leader in this initiative.

The Civic Association is continuing with public education and receives 3-5 calls a week about Smart Irrigation.  Recommendations to the Town Water Committee included:

- Evaluate the Smart Irrigation Model Municipal Ordinance from the State of Florida.

- Implement a Town ordinance requiring all new construction to use Smart Irrigation technology and all existing properties install Smart Irrigation within a reasonable time.

- Consider the South Florida Water Management Water Savings Incentive Program (WaterSIP) application to rebate property owners that install Smart Irrigation. The program application process starts in February and approvals happen in the Fall of 2010.

West Palm Water Utilities have provided estimates for various new sources of water for the Town of Palm Beach.  They range from $100 million to over $220 million (seawater treatment plant) in capital expense, not including large operating costs. 

This large tax burden has been evaluated by the Town Water Committee to be too expensive so the best alternative is water conservation. 

The potential, using Smart Irrigation technology and techniques, is to save over half of the 2 billions of water property owners use in Town each year for irrigation. That savings would eliminate the need for an extra supply or source of water, and therefore the need to raise and spend a large amount of taxes.

The Civic Association is proud to be involved in helping the Town and Council with this initiative and we stand ready to continue.  Your membership and financial support is what makes this possible. As you can imagine, these programs take a lot of resources and Civic Association budget to execute.  Please consider joining the Civic Association, underwriting our programs, and donating to make these important endeavors continue to help the Town. 

Contact us if you are interested in participating or underwriting this initiative.

Mike Brown
Civic Association Communications Director
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