Executive Summary

Wylie Independent School District took advantage of the Calsense Demo Program in November 2018 at Cox Elementary School to implement smart water management of their landscapes. The goal: reduce water use and lower bills by having oversight on the irrigation system and detecting mainline breaks. Wylie ISD’s former executive director, Jennifer DuPlessis used Calsense when she was in Arlington and was able to make the recommendation to Wylie, Texas. Since their existing system did not have a flow meter, master valve, or online water management capabilities, the school district was essentially starting from scratch and the technology that Calsense offers was the perfect fit for Wylie’s needs. As a result, the Calsense system was installed and the smart irrigation technology began to monitor detailed water usage, as well as detect and report irrigation problems. Additionally, Calsense Account Manager Matt MacCloskey helped provide education and training to help support Wylie staff in effectively utilizing the new system.

  • Consistent irrigation reduction over 31% since 2018
  • ROI of 1.85 years
  • Annual average cost savings of $5,500 per year
  • Saving over 642,966 gallons of fresh water each year
Boy preparing to kick the ball

About

Wylie Independent School District is based in Wylie, Texas and covers much of south-central Collin County. The school district has 32 campuses, three support centers, and an agricultural center.  Covering 41 square miles, the district of more than 17,000 students serves the City of Wylie as well as families in the surrounding communities of Sachse, Murphy, Lucas, Lavon and St. Paul. Wylie ISD has 25 buildings, including 20 campuses and five other administrative/alternative campuses.

The goals Wylie ISD set out to achieve included lowering water bills, conserving water, and educating their team.

Challenges

The school district’s primary challenge was mainline breaks that led to wasted water and high-water bills. It wasn’t so much the actual break that posed the problem, but the fact that they didn’t have a system in place to alert them of the issue, which meant they weren’t aware of it until receiving the elevated water bills. This allowed the problem to persist for long periods, especially over weekends and school vacations.

Since the irrigation was done manually at the controller prior to Calsense, this posed a problem for potential instances of excessive irrigation, under the good intention of maintaining plant health. Wylie found that the CS3000 weather-based ET feature allowed the controller to irrigate more precisely and efficiently, reducing the potential for over-watering and/or human error.

Wylie found that the Calsense technology made it easier to seamlessly share information with various stakeholders within the district, allowing them greater alignment in the understanding, managing, and conservation of their water.

How Calsense Helped

Calsense installed a demo on the campus of Cox Elementary in November of 2018. The demo controller is a CS3000 along with a Tipping Rain Bucket. The Tipping Rain Bucket is used to keep a record of accumulated rainfall, consisting of a tipping mechanism that measures every 0.01-inches of rainfall. This information is passed to the CS3000 controller, then using both the rate and actual amount of rainfall, it offsets each station’s run times accordingly. Readings from the Tipping Rain Bucket can be shared automatically between CS3000 Irrigation Controllers using FLOWSENSE® technology or using the Calsense Command Center Online web application. Calsense also implemented the feature of setting manual budgets to alert Cox Elementary if they exceed their expected usage so they can adjust accordingly.

Results

Wylie ISD saw a drastic difference in the campus that was using the Calsense system compared to their other sites without any smart irrigation controllers. Based on previous use, Cox Elementary was able to save 642,966 gallons. The CS300 controller installed on this campus utilized the automated irrigation schedule and weather data to reduce their total irrigation by 31%, which in turn significantly lowered the water bill.  After accounting for the cost of the controller and the amount of money saved due to the decrease in water, the calculations prove an ROI in 1.85 years (22 months). After the success at Cox Elementary Calsense is excited to continue working with Wylie ISD to implement smart irrigation technology at additional campuses in the future.

“The second highest utilities cost for the school district is water and Calsense allows us to keep track and control part of that expense.” – Marcia Coker

Share this post