The Board of Directors voted unanimously on Monday to use an aerial mapping company to find the exact square footage of customers’ landscapes the require irrigation. Understanding the precise size of each outdoor landscape parcel will enable better water allocation to customers.
Eagle Aerial Solutions will conduct the Irrigated Vegetation Mapping Program that will assist Palmedale with the Rate Study for 2019. The study will determine the water rates for years 2020-2024. Eagle Aerial’s mapping technology achieves, on average, a 95 percent-plus accuracy rate, and is assumed to provide PWD with a near-perfect figures for calculating how much water is needed for outdoor use by each customer.
Presently, PWD allocates fifty percent of the parcel’s square footage for landscaping on single-family dwelling and one hundred percent for irrigation accounts. This helps guarantee the customers’ water allotment is enough during the summer time months.
Board Director Robert E. Alvarado, said “I am always supportive of the use of technology to better serve our ratepayers. If we can be more precise with determining water allocations, it is a win-win for our customers and for our agency.”
PWD serves about 26,000 customers’ inside of its 45-square-mile boundary. The rate for the contract with Costa Mesa-based Eagle Aerial is not to exceed $31,500.
PWD Finance Manager/CFO Michael Williams elaborated by saying, “This enables us to obtain the most accurate parcel level data for approximately $1.25 per account,” and said “It is definitely cost effective.”
Eagle Aerial’s proposal details that they will be using Geographic Information System (GIS)-based remote sensing analysis as well as expert manual air photo interpretation to define the irrigated areas for individual parcels. The company will provide results in both a dataset and a visually mapped dataset to the PWD. Each parcel will have information identifying the impervious (structure/hardscape), water, irrigated, irrigable but not irrigated (turf grass), and undeveloped and agriculture.
Eagle Aerial is currently being used by the California Department of Water Resources, which is collecting data for it’s water districts to deliver an aggregate landscape area number for each water agency’s efficiency target. As a whole, the state will be averaging individual parcel data and will not be providing the parcel by parcel accuracy needed when setting individual customer’s outdoor allocation. By hiring Eagle Aerial, PWD will have the most accurate individual parcel data available.
PWD was the second agency in the State of California to adopt to the new water budget rates.
The Palmdale Water District has been provided high-quality water at a reasonable cost since 1918. They pride themselves on providing excellent customer service; advocating for local water issues that help our residents; educating the community on water-use efficiency; and leading our region in researching and implementing rising technology resources that will improve operational efficiency. Please visit www.palmdalewater.org for more information about the PWD.