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santaynez3Galvanized Pipe on Slope Santa Ynez SlopesScenic Landscape with Irrigation Challenges


The scenic canyon location of this Santa Ynez community is a major draw for residents who enjoy views from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. But the hillside slopes surrounding the community proved problematic for the homeowners’ association. Faced with an aging irrigation system prone to breaking, the board decided to take action to prevent costly water loss from ruptures and to address serious soil erosion problems threatening homes.

Project Scope

Santa Ynez Homeowners’ Association was experiencing breaks in their dated irrigation system lines and were wasting vast amounts of water. They had no automated way to see when breaks were occurring so the property management team did not know where they were until someone reported them.

ValleyCrest performed an irrigation retrofit after an assessment of the system confirmed Santa Ynez Homeowners’ Association would benefit from flow sensors and master valves. These affordable devices were installed to detect excessive flow and automatically shut down the irrigation system when breaks, malfunctions or vandalism occur. Flow sensors measure the amount of water passing through an irrigation line and communicate that information to the irrigation controller. If the flow is excessively high or water is flowing when it shouldn’t be flowing, the irrigation is shut down. As a result of the installation of flow sensors and master valves, when a break occurs the water is turned off and the chance for damage from leaking water is significantly reduced.

The other major outcome of the assessment identified the lack of smart controllers which are becoming the standard for any large property’s irrigation system. Using smart controllers can automatically adjust irrigation on a daily basis and efficiently apply water as needed.

Galvanized irrigation lines on landscaped slopes also needed to be replaced to update the aging system and avoid breaks.  Backflow prevention devices were also installed to protect the HOA’s water supply from contamination and pressure regulators were installed to reduce breaks caused by excessive water hammer and ensure efficient operation.


Over the course of four months, ValleyCrest replaced over 4,500 feet of galvanized pipe, installed 12 Hunter Controllers with SolarSync, 10 backflow devices and 12 flow sensors and master valves.

The property now has an efficient irrigation system that can efficiently irrigate the rugged slopes without fear of breaks. Plant material is thriving where there were bare spots and water is not being wasted. The community can enjoy the landscape enhancements, protected slopes and improved property values because of a smart investment in its irrigation system.


It’s about making greener choices, being water wise and meeting the needs of your landscape.


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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. As the Director for Water Management Solutions at ValleyCrest, Richard is our spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. As a board member, Richard serves in a variety of capacities, including government/public affairs. He is the liaison between the board and its marketing committee on the best ways to promote water efficiency and educate industry professionals on new technologies, products and services. Richard is also a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.


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  1. Wednesday, 6:33 Alan Harris

    Today you hear a lot about aging and failing infrastructure. This post reminds us the aging and failing systems are not limited to the public water systems. Irrigation systems also have a life expectancy and as they near the end of their life they may need additional monitoring to reduce waste and damage to the landscape.

  2. Wednesday, 7:59 Richard

    We spend 29 billion a year on public water infrastructure in the US, compared to 23 billion a year on bottled water. We are just touching the surface with the public water and have much ground to cover with private water. So much waste to take care of, thanks for your great comments.

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