IDA Operations/Irrigation

Conserve Irrigation

Help do your part in irrigation conservation; here are some ways you can help:

1) During wet weather times, as we are currently experiencing, shut your irrigation off.
2) During dry weather, water only during designated irrigation times.
3) Make sure your rain sensor is working properly and shutting your irrigation off during wet weather, it's the law.
4) Perform periodic irrigation system inspections. Irrigation leaks and broken sprinkler heads often go unnoticed for long periods of time.

Irrigation in Common Areas During Daytime Hours

A common concern that is often brought forward by residents is related to irrigation running during the daytime hours. The issue as normally presented, "If residents are restricted to once a week watering, then why can the common areas water both during the evening and daytime hours?" The vast majority of the irrigation watering during the daytime hours are non-scheduled events. During the daytime hours we are observing our landscape maintenance contractors ensuring that all irrigation systems are functioning properly as required by the Southwest Water Management District (SWFWMD). The Community Development Districts have included the service of weekly irrigation inspections within their landscape contracts, these services correlate with the Water Management District's requirement to maintain irrigation systems.

There are approximately 510 irrigable acres in the LWR District common areas and per the landscape contract "Contractor shall be responsible for damage to irrigation and water supply items that were not reported to the District Manager in writing, and will be responsible for replacement of these items.  Contactor shall be responsible for monitoring the moisture levels in (beds and) turf areas, and reporting any problems, in writing, that may be present during the maintenance visit. Contractor shall be responsible for damage to (turf or) to plants that were not reported to the District Manager in writing, and will be responsible for the replacement of these items.”  There are approximately 2,500 irrigation zones and over 52,000 irrigation heads covering hundreds of acres that per contract are required to be constantly inspected and monitored to maintain a healthy landscape.  Our landscape maintenance contractors have several full time irrigation technicians who specialize in testing and repairs. Furthermore, the contract language specifically requires that the "contractor agrees to monitor, adjust and maintain all irrigation zones heads, valves, pipes and sprinklers. Minor adjustments include flow control, radius adjustment, nozzle cleaning, sprinkler height and level adjustment."

Currently, due to the lack of rain and above average temperatures, it is critical that all irrigation is functioning at its optimum level in our best attempt to provide an adequate amount of water and coverage for the survival of our landscape. It is our expectation that during the daytime hours and within a normal work week there will be multiple areas of common area irrigation operating for testing purposes somewhere in LWR. In fact, if this is not happening, we know the contractors are not meeting the standards contained within their contract. It is especially important that the irrigation zones are monitored after mowing events to repair any "irrigation geysers" that may otherwise occur during normally scheduled watering times. Broken sprinkler heads can result in a dramatic drop in pressure in a given zone, and not allow for proper coverage during our current once a week opportunity to irrigate.

There are other exceptions to daytime and once a week watering that are contained within the SWFWMD rules and regulations, namely micro-irrigation may be operated any day and at any time. The ultimate goal is to maintain our landscape in a healthy and attractive condition, while staying within the rules and regulations of the SWFWMD. If you should see water running during daytime hours without staff present, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Resources:

 www.swfwmd.state.fl.us
LWR Operations Office (941) 727-0899

 

Irrigation FAQ's

Why am I on a limited watering schedule?

  • Lakewood Ranch residents receive their irrigation water through Braden River Utilities (BRU). BRU determines the schedule for Lakewood Ranch based on the amount of available water and the subsequent demands required by residential lawns for each neighborhood.. BRU is  the entity that holds the permit with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and can only adopt a frequency that is permissible under SWFWMD mandates.

Does the schedule ever change? I heard that Manatee County went to twice a week.

  • Notifications will be sent to the homeowners if the Lakewood Ranch Governance Boards vote to adopt a new schedule when changes are allowed by SWFWMD and provided by BRU. 

  • Lakewood Ranch is currently on a once a week schedule and does not follow Manatee County’s irrigation scheduling.

How do I shut off my irrigation water?

  • Each lot has a shut off valve for the irrigation, otherwise known as a “curb stop”. 

  • It is typically located on the opposite side of your yard from the potable water backflow preventer and is typically located in a utility box underground adjacent to the sidewalk. Inside of this box there is the valve or "curb stop".

Is there an on-call person for after hours emergencies and what is considered an emergency?

  • Yes, there is someone on call after normal business hours.  The after hours number is 941-907-0202, option #3.  An emergency is any event that causes or threatens to cause damage to property, life or health and is related to District infrastructure.  It would include irrigation that is running and will not shut off.  Not having irrigation water or low pressure is not considered an emergency.

 What is the difference between potable water and irrigation water?

  • Potable water is safe for consumption by humans and animals. Manatee County provides the potable water for the homes in Lakewood Ranch.

  • Irrigation water is non-purified water from wells and storm water runoff from the lakes, which is not safe for consumption.  Irrigation water is provided by the wells and pumps within the community and are maintained by BRU.

 What is the difference between a backflow preventer and a curb stop?

  • A curb stop is a shut off valve for your irrigation water only, not for the potable water to the home.  However, there is a separate shut off valve before the meter for the potable water.

  • A backflow preventer is associated with your drinking water and it prevents a reversal of water flow.  Having backflow devices on water connections helps maintain drinking water quality throughout the potable water system.

 Who do I call regarding my potable water?  

  • Contact Manatee County Utilities at 941-792-8811 ext 5216 for questions on potable water.  

 Who do I call regarding my backflow preventer?

  • For issues with your backflow preventer please contact a licensed plumber.

 Does LWR make repairs to resident's irrigation?

  • Lakewood Ranch is only responsible for repairs up to the curb stop.  The resident is responsible for any repairs beyond the curb stop. If a leak can be turned off at the curb stop, then the repair is the resident's responsibility.

 Why won't my irrigation come on?

  • First, check your rain sensor for any water collection which would not allow your system to operate. If your home was constructed after 1991, then you most likely have a rain sensor.

  • Next, verify that the curb stop is turned on.  If your system still will not operate, call the Operations office at 941-727-0899, to see if there are any repairs in the neighborhood that may be affecting your irrigation water supply.  If not, you will need to contact your irrigation technician.

Why am I experiencing low water pressure for my irrigation?

  • This could be due to a number of different reasons.  First, check your filter and clean as needed. Next check for any leaks within the system, even a broken irrigation head can cause low pressure. If neither of these appear to help, please call the Operations Office at 941-727-0899, it may be possible that there is a well down or a repair to a water line in the area.

 Why are the resident's watering times between midnight and 10 a.m.?

  • This is the most effective times to water as there is less evaporation and less of a chance for fungus and disease.

Why do the common areas irrigate when I am driving home or taking a walk?

  • Common areas irrigate between 4 p.m. and Midnight, allowing residents the optimum watering times. Subsequently, roadways and sidewalks are subjected to inconvenient watering times for pedestrians, cyclist and motorists due to the limited watering window and the vast amount of common area. Considerations are taken when common area watering schedules are determined.