IA contributes to CEC irrigation controller proposal

The IA submitted a letter to the CEC urging the agency to edit its proposed regulation to better align with industry standards and norms.
The IA submitted a letter to the CEC urging the agency to edit its proposed regulation to better align with industry standards and norms.
IA contributes to CEC irrigation controller proposal

The Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia, has pushed for the California Energy Commission to edit a preview of the CEC’s proposed regulation on landscape irrigation controllers to better align with industry standards and norms.

Following a national push to significantly reduce the amount of water used in landscape across the U.S., the CEC, through its Landscape Irrigation Controller Workgroup, has developed regulation that, if adopted, could require purchasing and installing landscape irrigation controllers across California.

As a member of this workgroup, the IA extended its thoughts on the preview of the proposed regulatory language via a Jan. 18 letter written by Coleman Garrison, IA government and public affairs director, sent to David Johnson of the CEC.

“This was an opportunity for the members of the workgroup to provide early feedback and help influence the language when it is formally proposed,” Garrison says. “The IA appreciates the CEC including the IA and manufacturers in this process to ensure that any ultimately proposed regulatory language is not in contradiction with industry standards and norms.”

A majority of the IA’s recommendations regarding the irrigation controller proposal ask for the CEC to use industry standard terms to allow for a wider spread of understanding.

On a more specific level, one comment includes clarifying why the CEC’s definition of “landscape irrigation controller” excludes a landscape irrigation controller that is both exclusively designed and marketed for commercial applications and has an irrigation zone capacity larger than 96.

“While a product that fits this specific description would not be as commonly used as smaller units throughout the state, they are an important segment of the industry,” Garrison says in his letter.

If the CEC wishes to maintain this definition, Garrison urges the agency to provide a “thorough” explanation describing the reasoning behind the description and its goals, allowing interested stakeholders to provide feedback.

Garrison further asks the CEC to revisit its use of “commercial,” as he says an accepted definition of commercial compared to noncommercial products on the delineation of station size does not exist. He says that 96-plus station controllers are used in many nonresidential — or commercial — applications, like parks and sports fields.

“It is not readily clear why this exclusion was included and what that would mean for landscapes such as these,” Garrison says in his letter.

Another one of the IA’s recommendations on the controller proposal includes providing guidance on how to follow the regulation if it becomes finalized. The regulation would require manufacturers to electronically file their products with MAEDbS, which can be a time-consuming process, Garrison says. By providing clear guidance, manufacturers, irrigation designers and contractors can be able to comply in a timely manner.

“The IA has a similar goal to promote efficient irrigation and looks forward to having robust discussions on this effort and reviewing any potential revisions,” Garrison says.

McKenna Corson is the digital content editor for Irrigation & Lighting magazine and can be reached at mckennacorson@irrigation.org.

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