Executive Summary

San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) resolved to reduce water consumption within its 44,000-acre service area consisting of open space, community centers, local and regional parks and commissioned the Water Conservation Plan in 2010. The goals of the DPR’s Water Conservation Plan are to decrease water consumption and related costs, track, document and publish results while preserving environmental quality, cultural heritage and public services. Calsense created custom, cloud-based software for the County providing easy access to detailed water budget and usage reports, with daily diagnostic reports of irrigation problems as they occur.


  • DPR partnered with the Metropolitan Water District and San Diego County Water Authority to perform irrigation audits as a tool for maximizing water-use efficiency at over 20 parks
  • Installed the Calsense Resource Management System for irrigation control to achieve water, labor and cost savings
  • Implemented the use of recycled water in the 10-acre lower park of the San Dieguito Regional Park
  • Installed 24-synthetic turf ball fields


Upgrading to water and energy efficient technologies generate paybacks once old and outdated infrastructure is first upgraded. From 2007 to 2015, DPR was proactive in maintaining its parks facilities by repairing or replacing failed or failing irrigation systems, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, exterior and structural components as necessary to return them to their intended use, prevent further damage, and make them compliant with changes in laws, regulations, codes and standards.

How Calsense Helped

Calsense was selected as the smart irrigation control system for the DPR because of its ability to diagnose and alert staff to a wide variety of irrigation problems when they occur, automatically provide detailed water usage and management reports that document water savings to budget, and the ability to utilize real-time ET and rain data to dynamically adjust daily irrigation schedules based on weather conditions. The field controllers are monitored and operated through cloud-based software developed specific to the County’s needs and Calsense’s dedicated field service and sales teams provide on-site education and technical support for staff to effectively use technology to save water, time and money.


Since its inception in 2009, about thirty-parks have been installed with the Calsense resource management system, along with flow sensors, high efficiency irrigation heads, drip irrigation, and low flow emitters. The end result has seen an approximately 40% reduction in water use, or over 180 millions of gallons of irrigation water. The improvements not only reduced irrigation costs but also reduced time devoted to irrigation maintenance and have enabled the facilities to use some of their expense budgets on other areas within those facilities. The County continues to upgrade their park system to the Calsense Resource Management System.


Since 1946, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation has been committed to enhancing quality of life by providing exceptional parks and recreation experiences and preserving regionally significant natural and cultural resources. DPR continues to investigate new green technologies and to explore their practical applications, while striving to leverage County tax-payer dollars to best serve their park, recreation center and open space users as new technologies become available.

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