LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Grants for upgraded landscape sensors that can enable automatic watering twice a week will be available to homeowners in Lakewood Ranch Phase One as early as March, according to Ryan Heise, director of operations for Lakewood Ranch Inter District Authority.
"It's first-come, first-served by neighborhood, then there will be a second pool by neighborhood so no one can dominate," said executive director Eva Rey.
The grants will be funded by Braden River Utilities in partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Homeowners get a rebate of no more than $495 for an installed and working system. There are authorized installers who have been approved by
BRU for the project, so the agencies are working together to determine the details of the program.
"There may be additional systems. I'm not sure what's going to happen after that," said Greg Glass, Lakewood Ranch, director of community association services. "We're working with educating the homeowners also."
Currently Lakewood Ranch has soil moisture sensors installed and working in its common areas, all approved by the water management district. There are 510 acres irrigated in the common areas and 250 irrigation zones, all of which will be controlled by smart technology by the end of 2014, Heise said. The system is 75 percent completed.
"I think it's great. In the long range I don't know if it will save the homeowner much money, but it will save the IDA money and it will provide the necessary ability for the homeowner to do the watering. The system will actually do the necessary watering that the homeowners are always complaining about," said Jean Stewart, vice chair of the IDA and representative of Community Development District One.
Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be contacted at 941-748-0411, ext. 7024 or tweet @deegrahambh.