06.16.11Martha Golea

Save $4,000 and the whales

West Basin smart controller incentive

You fertilize your yard, you chemically treat weeds in your yard, you may even wash your car or dog in your yard (a recommended conservation practice). So what happens when you over water your yard and the excess water runs down the street?

The fertilizer, chemical and soap get washed right into your local water source. In the case of coastal residents, that means the ocean.

Los Angeles area’s West Basin Municipal Water District is offering a huge incentive to put a stop to excessive water use causing pollution. Through their Ocean-Friendly landscape program, West Basin aims to reduce outdoor water use, as well as prevent runoff from polluting local beaches and oceans by providing free smart irrigation controllers to residents with one or more acres of turf irrigated with potable water. Qualifying properties can be private residences, schools, colleges or universities, homeowner’s associations, businesses, ball fields, etc.

Taking their service to the next level, the district is providing a free landscape audit plus free installation and programming of the smart controller so all participants in the incentive program can enjoy maximum water savings. The total value of the program is $1,350 per controller (properties with more than one acre of turf are eligible for additional controllers) and when combined with savings on their water bill, residents could save $4,000 over the lifetime of the device.

The free smart controller incentive is part of West Basin’s Water Reliability 2020 program to reduce the region’s dependence on imported water from 66% to 33% by the year 2020. Their plan is to double conservation and water recycling and add 10% of ocean-water desalination to their water supply portfolio. Sounds like a huge undertaking but it sounds like they’re getting equally huge support. The program is funded by various agencies, including California Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, West Basin and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

They’re also getting sizeable participation in the program. Since launching in March they have already installed over 150 controllers and they plan on installing nearly 1,000 more before the program ends in 2013. If they are able to install all 1,117 controllers as planned, the initiative could end up saving the district well over one million gallons of water a year.

I don’t know the exact gallons to whales ratio, but even if it’s 1 million to 1, that’s not bad. Plus, everyone likes saving money and having a cleaner home, right? Less water waste from your home means less pollution in theirs.

It’s a win-win situation and it’s free. If you live in the West Basin Municipal Water District, put down the hose and join the program now.

Martha Golea

A seasoned communicator passionate water conservationist, Martha Golea tracks projects in progress and reports on usage of new and exploratory irrigation technology and water management strategies. In addition to contributing to customer newsletters and creating case studies of our work, Martha also creates tools that help educate customers and the community on landscape maintenance best practices.



  1. Thursday, 3:48 Alan Harris

    Save Money and Save Whales…almost makes me want to live in LA. Great article and a great offer to share and promote keep up the great work!

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