Residential Irrigation Program
For complete information about Spotsylvania County’s Water Conservation Policy, please view: Water Conservation Initiative.
Voluntary Residential Irrigation Program
Spotsylvania County recognizes that the installation of a well-designed and maintained underground irrigation system can minimize the quantity of water applied to landscapes by delivering water to exactly where it is needed at a time when water is least likely to be lost to evaporation and during non-peak usage hours. The Voluntary Irrigation Certification Program (ICP) is adopted as a part of the Green Initiative and Water Conservation Program for residences and located in Spotsylvania County. The intent of the program is to establish general operating standards for irrigation systems installed at residential dwellings which will encourage water conservation and the responsible use of water.
Residential customers in Spotsylvania County may apply to participate in the voluntary certification program. The ICP shall be administered by the Spotsylvania County Department of Utilities/Public Works. The Application Form shall be completed and submitted to the Spotsylvania County Department of Utilities/Public Works.
Residential Water Audit:
An applicant applying to participate in the ICP is subject to an irrigation system water audit by the department, or its representative, to determine that the residence meets all appropriate criteria and operating standards. Audits shall be conducted at reasonable times and will be coordinated with the homeowner.
Fees and Charges:
There are no application fees or annual renewal fees. The homeowner will be charged the cost of a replacement meter if a device or pump is installed on the irrigation line that causes damage to the County-owned meter that services the irrigation system.
All irrigation systems participating in the ICP shall be served by a dedicated service connection and meter known as an “auxiliary meter”. Spotsylvania County will make all connections to its water mains and will specify the location, kind, and quality of all materials entering into the service connection. All of the property’s non-irrigation water needs must be served by a “primary meter.” Dedicated irrigation meters will be deemed “auxiliary meters.” To qualify for the ICP the property must have a “primary meter” that serves non-irrigation water needs. An “auxiliary meter” will be installed by Spotsylvania County for a one-time connection fee. The auxiliary meter is exempt from any other availability, meter, and connection fees as set forth in Chapter 22 provided that a primary meter serves non-irrigation water to the property. The fee for both new meter installation and retrofit applications is the meter fee plus an additional $200.00.
To ensure the safety and efficiency of all irrigation systems participating in the ICP, the system shall have an operational backflow device, rain sensor, and smart irrigation (ET) controller.
Willful Waste of Water
- Water shall be used only for beneficial purposes and shall not be wasted. Spotsylvania County reserves the right to discontinue water service to any customer after five days notice upon the willful or wasteful use of water. Willful and wasteful use of water includes, but is not limited to the following:
Applying more water than is reasonably necessary to establish and maintain a healthy landscape. Routine watering of turf shall be limited to three days per week, except for watering for up to 21 days to establish new turf from sod or seed.
- Watering with spray irrigation between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. during the period from May 1 to October 1, except for the following uses:
- Watering for up to 21 days to establish turf from seed or sod.
- Watering new plant material such as flowers, trees, and shrubs on the day of planting.
- Watering deemed essential to preserving turf subject to heavy public use.
- Watering landscaped areas during rain or high wind.
- Applying water intended for irrigation to an impervious surface, such as a street, parking lot, alley, sidewalk or driveway.
- Allowing water to pool or flow across the ground or into any drainage way, such as gutters, streets, alleys or storm drains.
- Failing to repair, for a period of more than ten business days after notice, leaking or damaged irrigation components, service lines or other plumbing fixtures.
- Required installation: Rain sensors shall be installed on all participating irrigation systems that will receive water from Spotsylvania County.
- Required maintenance: All rain sensors shall be adjusted and set so that they automatically shut-off the irrigation system in response to one-fourth (1/4) inch of rainfall. All rain sensors shall be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a location that will provide full exposure to rainfall such that accuracy of operation is assured and shall be maintained in good working condition. No person shall with the intent of circumventing the purpose of this section, adjust either the rain sensor or irrigation system so that the rain sensor is not able to override and turn-off the irrigation system in response to one-fourth (1/4) inch of rainfall.
- Responsibility of owner for inspection: The Director of Utilities/Public Works or his designee shall require the owner, or designee, of any premises where rain sensors are installed to inspect these devices to ensure that they are installed and maintained to turn-off the irrigation system in response to one-fourth (1/4) inch of rainfall. The results of such tests shall be sent to the office of the Director of Utilities/Public Works. The devices shall be inspected and repaired, overhauled or replaced as required at the expense of the water user. An inspection report with these results shall be submitted to the Director or his designee at the same time the backflow inspection report is submitted for an irrigation system as required by Sec. 22-187 of the County Code.
Smart Irrigation (ET) Controllers
- Required installation: Smart Irrigation (ET) Controllers shall be installed on all participating irrigation systems that will receive water from Spotsylvania County.
- Required maintenance: When installed and programmed properly, smart irrigation controllers utilize local site conditions such as soil moisture, evaporation, plant transpiration, sunlight, temperature, and humidity to calculate the amount of water that should be applied to the landscape. All smart controllers must have gone through the Irrigation Associations Smart Water Application Technology (SWAT) testing protocol and obtained a mean average for 6 test zones of 100% in Irrigation Adequacy and a mean average for 6 test zones of 0% in Irrigation Excess. All smart controllers must be installed and programmed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Responsibility of owner for inspection: The Director or his designee shall require the owner, or designee, of any premises where SmartIrrigation (ET) Controllers are installed to inspect these devices to ensure that they are installed, maintained and programmed according to manufacturer’s specifications. The results of such tests shall be sent to the Director. The devices shall be inspected and repaired, overhauled or replaced as required at the expense of the water user. An inspection report with these results shall be submitted to the Director or his designee at the same time the backflow inspection report is submitted for an irrigation system as required by Sec. 22-187 of the County Code.
Auxiliary meters serving irrigation systems are subject to discontinuance of service during a water emergency declared by Spotsylvania County.
Fee exemptions for Auxiliary Meters:
All irrigation systems that meet the operating standards of the Voluntary Irrigation Certification Program will be subject to the Non-Residential Irrigation Meter Service Rate as set forth in Chapter 22 of the Spotsylvania County Code and not the Residential Meter Service Rate. Participating systems will not be subject to sewage fees. Participating systems will be subject to the rates in Sec. 22-205 during a Water Conservation Emergency. All systems that fail to meet the operating standards of the Voluntary Irrigation Program will be subject to Residential Meter Service Rate as well as applicable sewerage fees.
Connections to Irrigation Systems:
Spotsylvania County will make all connections to its water mains and will set the meter setting and meter. It will be the responsibility of the owner to connect the irrigation system to the meter. The owner, or their authorized agent/contractor, shall not install any devices or pumps on the irrigation line. If such activity takes place that causes damage to the County-owned meter that services the irrigation system, the homeowner will be charged for the cost of a replacement meter and the Irrigation Certification may be revoked.
The Director or his designated agent shall notify the owner, or an authorized agent of the owner, of any premises on which there is found a violation of these rules and regulations, of such violation. Such notice shall be in writing and shall set a reasonable time for the owner to have the violation corrected. The irrigation system shall not be operated until such time as the violation is corrected. The Director may terminate or deny water service to any premises where the irrigation system continues to be operated without the correction of noted defects.
As technology changes for irrigation systems, so will Irrigation Certification Program operating standards. All systems participating in the Voluntary ICP will be subject to changes in the operating standards.