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Bakersfield works to reduce water consumption in parks

As part of the Smart Irrigation Controller Project, the city of Bakersfield installed a system called Rainbird Maxicom in all 59 parks. The goal is to reduce water consumption. The project was funded by a state grant. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

The city of Bakersfield Department of Recreation and Parks just finished a big project that is expected to help reduce water consumption.

The city used state grants to install a Rainbird Maxicom in all 59 parks.

"The city of Bakersfield Recreation and Parks uses probably the most water of all the entities in the city," said Dianne Hoover, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks. "The city is responding to the need for water conservation, and we are doing it in a very big way."

The Rainbird Maxicom is an irrigation central control system that allows the city to control and monitor all of the water usage from one computer.

From a weather station in town, things like temperature, rainfall and humility are measured. That information gets stored into a computer, which does calculations and automatically decides how much water needs to go back into the ground to keep the grass and trees healthy. It then automatically waters the parks.

"That is controlling the water by registering how much moisture is in the air and in the ground and adjusting automatically," Hoover said.

Before this project, Hoover said they had to control water usage by hand and individually go out to each park. She said that was not as effective and accurate as this new system is.

The final phase of the project was completed on Nov. 30. However, it has been going on for about four years.

Hoover said in 2014 the city was granted about $500,000 to implement the system in more than half the parks.

In January 2016, the city was awarded another $681,739 in grant funds to complete the project in the remaining 24 city parks.

The money was provided by California Climate Investments and California Department of Water Resources.

The Smart Irrigation Controller Project is part of California Climate Investments, which is a statewide program that puts cap-and-trade dollars into strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment.

"We do understand that we use a lot of water just to maintain the trees and grass at parks, so we're excited that we can be part of the whole water conservation for the city and for the state of California," Hoover said.

Hoover said the goal of this project is to reduce water consumption at city parks by 30 percent annually.

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