Water Ordinance FAQ's

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1. What is a Smart Controller? A smart irrigation controller is like a thermostat for your landscape, telling it when to turn on or off.  The controller utilizes weather data, soil type, property slope and other factors to tailor irrigation to actual conditions, instead of preset schedules. Qualifying controllers must be USEPA Water Sense approved, which insures that they save a minimum of 30% in water for irrigation.  Look for the USEPA Water Sense label or search a list of qualified systems at https://www.epa.gov/watersense/product-search. Exemption applications for irrigation with Smart Controllers can be submitted anytime of the year.

2. Can I water with a watering can and when? Irrigation of hanging plants, gardens or small planting areas with a watering can is not restricted to any day or time; unless Stage 3 or 4 water restrictions are enacted.  Ridgewood Water recommends that this watering occur before 10 am or after 6 pm to take advantage of the cooler times of the day.  Placing mulch around these plantings is also recommended to retain moisture.

3. What is drip/micro irrigation? These systems irrigate the landscape directly at the surface or underground into the roots.  This can consist of a soaker house, drip lines or underground drip pipes that direct the water at a slower rate, but directly to the root zone of the landscape.  Most systems are at least 40% more efficient than conventional irrigation systems.

4. What can I do to avoid a violation? Make sure you water only on the days and during the times that are permitted for your device.  Irrigation during a rain event or immediately after rainfall is a violation and failure to stop irrigation system leaks is also a violation.  It is important to display the exemption permit or placard in a prominent location on your property.

5. Can I wash my car? Car washing is only restricted during emergency Stages 3 or 4.  Ridgewood Water recommends that you wash smart, by utilizing a car wash where the water is recycled or by running the water only for wetting and rinsing the car.

6. Can I power wash my house? Power washing is only restricted during emergency Stages 3 or 4.  Ridgewood Water recommends that you wash smart, by only running the water for wetting and rinsing the building or by using a bucket for smaller spot cleaning.

7. Can I fill my pool? Filling of pools is only restricted during emergency Stages 3 or 4.  Ridgewood Water recommends that you utilize a removable pool cover to avoid evaporation.  Solar covers will also warm up the water.

8. When can I obtain an exemption from the restrictions for new landscaping? Exemption requests for new sod, seed or plantings can only be submitted prior to June 1st or after September 20th of every year.  A copy of the price quote or receipt for materials for the new landscaping, along with proof of a working automatic rain sensor, must be submitted with the application. Exemptions are not valid during emergency Stages 3 or 4.

9. What if I am building a new home or addition and need to plant landscaping after June 1st? Properties requiring new landscaping as part of a building permit, may obtain approval at any time.  Proof of the permit and Certificate of Occupancy requirements, along with proof of a working automatic rain sensor, must be submitted with the application.  Exemptions are not valid during emergency Stages 3 or 4.

10. Can I use a hand held hose to clean my gutters and patio furniture? Use of a hand held hose for these uses is not prohibited, unless emergency Stages 3 or 4 are enacted.  These uses are different from irrigation, as they don’t occur daily.  For outdoor cleaning, Ridgewood Water recommends that you wash smart, by only running the water for wetting and rinsing or by using a bucket for smaller spot cleaning.

11. What if my rain sensor is not installed upon adoption of these regulations? The important thing is to make sure your system doesn’t go on during the rain.  Use a manual rain gauge and make sure to shut your system done if ¼ inch of rain has fallen.  If you are going to be away ask a neighbor to perform this task for you.

12.  What if I need to water after chemical treatment of my lawn? Irrigation necessary for application of chemicals requiring immediate watering is exempt from restrictions.  The application must comply with local fertilizer rules.  Please consult with your local authority about these regulations.  In order to avoid a violation please make sure the application flags are visibly displayed at the property.  Exemptions are not valid during emergency Stages 3 or 4.

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