Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lakewood Ranch plans to use radio frequency to irrigate

By Nick Williams

A radio antenna is expected to be included in the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority's $2.2 million maintenance facility, a feature that will allow field management staff to better control wireless irrigation systems.

Currently, half of the irrigation valves used on Lakewood Ranch common areas can be controlled via smart phone applications.

"We have something similar (to the antenna) but we want to improve," said Ryan Heise, operations director for Lakewood Ranch.

"It would seem to me, in terms of public relations, and I consider this low hanging fruits if we can control irrigation zones with computers instead of going around and manually shutting them down," said Tom Green, IDA chairman.

Efficient irrigation continues to be a topic of interest among residents and district officials. Braden River Utilities, a subsidiary of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the developer of Lakewood Ranch, permits irrigation once a week. The community welcomed the heavy downpour from Tropical Storm Debby, but residents have expressed concerns to district supervisors about water systems running during rainfall. Heise said the systems won't shut off until a certain threshold is met and turning off valves in a once-a-week watering system is bad practice, as the downpour may not irrigate the earth to maintenance standards.

Over the last three years, the various community development districts and the IDA have contributed to an irrigation fund, Heise said. The funds go towards upgrading the district's irrigation system to improve irrigation methods.

In March, contractor Azad Shah of LPA Group made a suggestion to the districts to install roughly $1.7 million worth of improvements on pipes, which would include looping the pipes, and spend roughly $1.8 million to construct improvements of random irrigation.

No comments:

Post a Comment