To address groundwater sustainability, the VRWJPO partners with cities to conduct an Irrigation Audit Program. Research in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area has identified lawn irrigation as the most discretionary use of groundwater also used as drinking water within urban areas.
Staff recognized irrigation system audits and their respective improvements as an important way to address water sustainability. Started in 2018, the audit program’s goals are to reduce lawn irrigation water use and reduce 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. Check out this StoryMap from Lakeville for more details.
Currently, VRWJPO is conducting irrigation audits with homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in Lakeville, Rosemount, and Apple Valley (starting in 2022). The audits are led by consultants who:
- Gather historical information about the irrigation system
- Discuss the current maintenance program
- Review major irrigation system components
- Assess irrigation scheduling practices
- Operate each irrigation station
- Conduct a representative irrigation uniformity and distribution test
The VRWJPO and City provide each HOA with information that includes recommended improvements and practices, cost estimates, and return on investment for irrigation improvements. If the recommendations are performed, reductions in water use will occur, and the HOAs will save money, which helps to achieve goals in the VRWJPO’s Watershed Plan. A 2022 report indicates that at most of the audit locations, irrigation water use went down significantly, as well as saving money for the HOAs.