The Presidio of San Francisco is a unique park within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of California offering breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio has been the site of military installations for nearly 225 years, and today is a National Historic Landmark District with a vast collection of historic military architecture and significant natural and scenic resources. In 1994, the US Congress closed the military base and transferred the property to the National Park Service and in 1996 it created the Presidio Trust to manage all but the shoreline of the park. 

The Calsense Resource Management System has been in place at the Presidio for more than 15 years providing smart automation and central control operation for staff managing the landscape and irrigation. The standardization to Calsense started with a test site, and then management phasing into the technology in parcels over the years. Emilio Loredo, an Irrigation Specialist at the Presidio has been working with the Calsense system for the last 10 years and provided some insight recently for their success.

“The Command Center software offers the ability for us to make programming changes to irrigation schedules easy and efficiently without having to drive to the controllers, and the amount of data provided on a daily basis to manage resources is priceless,” states Mr. Loredo. Using smart technology has saved 90% of staff’s time and the daily alerts and water usage reports, makes his job easier and a better manager.

The ‘Alerts’ report is printed daily and serves as work orders for two irrigation techs; one gets all the ‘high flow’ conditions signaling possible broken heads and risers, while the second gets all the ‘no flows’ or ‘low flows’ indicating valves not opening or clogged heads. A significant tool staff uses to better manage and save time is the Calsense Radio Remote. The handheld remote displays the station description, the expected flow rate learned by the controller and the actual flow rate in GPM when the valve is turned on, along with amperage draw of the solenoid, without ever going to the controller. With over 2700 valves the station descriptions help staff remember where they’re located. Once everything is checked out the two techs summarize what was fixed or request a second opinion as to what to do, exemplifying a real team approach.

“Water savings is another important factor in being a better manager,” says Mr. Loredo. “2013 was used as the standard benchmark year where 53 million gallons were used for irrigation, while 35 million gallons were used in 2016, experiencing a 34% savings due to system upgrades, mulch implementation and minimizing water to shrub areas during severe drought conditions. Daily ET and rain data, with soil moisture sensors are used to better manage the site which we know work well.

Presidio Credo 

The Presidio Trust Technical Services team continues to succeed by:

1. Bringing innovation to the work place
2. Honoring our park guests, tenants and fellow employees
3. Preserving and enhancing the park
4. Caring for natural resources and the environment

However if a cooling period is expected, simply sending ‘no water days’ for a week or two has allowed us to save as well by focusing on areas that can handle degrees of stress. We have 100% confidence in the Calsense technology which has helped us save hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor and water costs.”

The Presidio has stayed with the Calsense system for so long because the product works very well, the after-sale customer support is excellent, and because they are a government entity feel fiscally responsible to use technology successfully to achieve long-term value. “Jennifer Gregoris, the Calsense Field Service Rep is responsive, communicates well, and takes care of any issues that occur. I feel completely confident in her ability to take care of us and our needs. She is very knowledgeable, necessary and fun to work with.” The Presidio has on average about 30 different suppliers but views Calsense more as a partner and not as a vendor.

When asked to describe Calsense to a peer of his, Mr. Laredo remarks, “I would share my history and use of the system, that I couldn’t have done my job the way I have without it, meaning I could not have managed the application of water as well as I do now, which translates into water saved which translates into money saved; hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 3 or 4 years!