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Weather stations will help irrigators with water conservation efforts
Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) recently unveiled two new weather stations in its service area as part of an ongoing state program to collect and distribute weather information to assist irrigators in managing water resources.
The weather stations, located at the Moreno Valley Ranch Golf Course and at the Perris Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility, are part of the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS), which is operated through the California Department of Water Resources.
EMWD invested in the two weather stations and is actively pursuing a location for a third in the San Jacinto Valley. The new weather stations will provide additional data to CIMIS’s network of weather stations throughout the state.
As part of EMWD’s tiered rate structure, outdoor water budgets are calculated using a percentage of evaporation and transpiration times the landscaped area. The weather stations play a pivotal role in calculating the evapotranspiration for the microclimate the weather station is located in. Additional stations within EMWD's boundaries help to provide an extremely accurate basis for calculating the budget allocations in customer water bills.
The Department of Water Resources describes evapotranspiration as “the loss of water to the atmosphere by the combined process of evaporation (from soil and plant surfaces) and transpiration (from plant tissues). It is an indicator of how much water your crops, plants, lawn, garden and trees need for healthy growth and productivity.”
The Perris location includes a 24,000 sq-ft grass-landscaped area required by the Department of Water Resources to improve the accuracy of the weather station readings. The grass area is used as a demonstration facility for water efficient irrigation equipment and a number of different Smart Irrigation Controllers.
“Since we have to maintain this turf site, we viewed this as a great opportunity to use this as a demonstration facility,” said EMWD Conservation Programs Supervisor Stacy Rodriguez. “This will allow us to ensure the accuracy of the Smart Controllers and low-precipitation nozzles that our customers can receive rebates toward.”
RainBird, Hunter Industries and The Toro Co donated the Smart Controllers, which automatically adjust irrigation times based on weather conditions or soil moisture. The companies also donated irrigation equipment, moisture sensors and low-precipitation sprinkler nozzles.
The demonstration area—which includes four types of sprinkler nozzles and two types of subterranean drip systems—allows EMWD to ensure that the controllers EMWD offers through its direct-install and rebate programs are properly synced with the information relayed by the weather station, thus providing accurate watering times based on actual conditions.
The weather station features include air temperature and humidity sensors, a wind vane, rain gauge, a lightning rod and are powered by a solar panel. The stations can detect total solar radiation, soil and air temperature, wind direction and speed.
The Department of Water Resources has more than 120 CIMIS stations located throughout the state and more than 6,000 unique users access the online information on an annual basis.
“This is truly an example of using technology to simultaneously benefit our customers and improve our conservation efforts,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “These weather stations allow us to provide our customer base with accurate billing information and ensure that we are using our water supply in the most efficient means possible."
“We are certainly proud to be a part of the CIMIS network and to partner with the Department of Water Resources on this important and ever-growing program.”