Apartment Complex Landscape Water Conservation Project – Palo Alto, CA
Gachina Landscape Management scored a home run in water savings at Oak Creek Apartments in Palo Alto. After implementing an extensive water conservation
program, we saved the client 4,995,000 gallons of water (16%) and over $50,000 in the first 18 months. We helped the client take advantage of Santa Clara Valley Water District’s
(SCVWD) rebate program and enabled Oak Creek to receive $50,000 in free funding towards the project. This cost and water savings was accomplished by: The installation of 28 new WeatherTRAK Smart Controllers, removing tens of thousands of square feet of water-loving turf, converting old spray head zones to high efficiency in-line drip irrigation and the installation of attractive low-water use, native plant material.
28 outdated controllers were replaced with new “smart” WeatherTRAK Pro3’s. WeatherTRAK ET Pro3
is the most tested and proven commercial-grade smart irrigation controller on the market today. The ET Pro3 can control a single site or an entire portfolio of sites, from 12 to 96 stations. Controllers were programmed based on water day restrictions that were in place at the time because of the drought. “Water windows” were optimized to prevent overtaxing hydraulics. Since all 162 valves on the 28 controllers pull water from a single water supply, we have to use a sophisticated watering schedule to minimize the impact of pressure loss. Furthermore, we consolidated 3 small controllers into a single large controller which aided in our management efficiency.
Thousands of square feet of water-loving turf was removed and old spray and rotor heads were capped and converted to drip irrigation. We helped Oak Creek select the most appropriate low water usage approved plants by the SCVWD list.
After installation, a heavy layer of mulch was installed to help minimize evaporation and retain soil moisture.
Battery operated timers and old Add-A-Zones were eliminated. These devices led to inefficient irrigation management because they are not connected to the main irrigation system. Some very old solenoids, which allow valves to open electrically, were causing high current alarms were detected. This High current was damaging old controllers without our knowledge. We replaced 25 valves in order to prevent this from occurring in the future.
Nicked wires causing electrical shorts were discovered. Mislabeled and improperly buried wires had caused many valves inoperable. Diagnostics and repair of these valves was made possible with the aid of toning and tracing equipment. This specialized equipment requires extensive training and practice to master, which we provide to our employees. Old or improper wire connectors from the original install caused many wire faults. Missing splice boxes were added where none existed, which will help easily identify where to find splices in the future.
In addition to water conservation, Gachina Landscape won a National Merit Award
for Oak Creek Apartments by NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals) in 2017. Our management team and field tech professionals have played a major role in the success at Oak Creek. Learning new skills, such as utilizing the WeatherTRAK Mobile App, analyzing real time data, and responding to email alerts automatically generated by the system have greatly improved our response times to urgent issues at the site. WeatherTRAK Mobile
enables you to manage and control your HydroPoint controllers while on the go. It’s simple to use, provides on-site troubleshooting and diagnostics capabilities and will reduce site visits and travel time – all while improving plant health and landscape appearance.
Contact Gachina at 650.853.0400 to discuss what we can do for your property!
Tags: irrigation management, low water usage plants, rebates, turf conversion, water conservation, water management, water savings