“Water, water everywhere.” In Minnesota, we enjoy beautiful lakes, streams, and rivers. A resource that is perhaps more important, but less visible, is groundwater. Groundwater is stored in rocks and soils; it provides the water we drink and sustains the level of many of the lakes, streams, and rivers. Even though we live in a water-rich state, clean water is a limited resource.

To address groundwater sustainability, the VRWJPO partnered with the City of Lakeville to conduct an Irrigation Audit Program. Research within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area identified lawn irrigation as the most discretionary and perhaps unnecessary use of groundwater that is also used as drinking water within the urban areas. Staff recognized irrigation system audits and their respective improvements as an important way to address water sustainability. The audit program’s goals were to reduce lawn irrigation water use, while also reducing the costs for water for the program participants. By reducing the amount of water used for irrigation, the construction of new municipal water infrastructure could be slowed, maintenance costs could be reduced, and the water in our lakes, streams, and rivers is maintained.

Two homeowner associations (HOAs) took part in an irrigation audit conducted by a consultant which:

  • Gathered historical information about the irrigation system
  • Discussed the current maintenance program
  • Reviewed major irrigation system components
  • Assessed irrigation scheduling practices
  • Operated each irrigation station
  • Conducted a representative irrigation uniformity and distribution test

The VRWJPO and City provided each HOA with information that included recommended improvements and practices, cost estimates, and return on investment for irrigation improvements. The VRWJPO and the City presented findings and recommendations to both HOAs for consideration. If the recommendations are performed, reductions in water use will occur, and the HOAs will save money, which ultimately helps to achieve goals and actions within the VRWJPO’s Watershed Plan.

Find more information on the VRWJPO website’s Pilot Projects page.

Project photos can be found here.