March 24 2017 03:00 AM

In Ridgewood, New Jersey, local efforts at conserving water are focused on limiting irrigation, but the interconnected nature of water systems has raised an additional difficulty. The local utility, Ridgewood Water, covers sections of the surrounding townships of Wyckoff, Glen Rock and Midland Park as well, and the Ridgewood council has no authority over its neighbors.

The council is currently considering a proposal to limit conventional irrigation systems to a two-day-per-week watering schedule year-round. However, these ordinances would not apply to properties in the surrounding area who are also customers of Ridgewood Water. In order for them to enforce the ordinance for all customers, the other townships would have to pass the ordinance as well.

Rich Calbi, the utility’s director, cautioned the council that they “needed to be prepared” if the other towns decided not to cooperate with the ordinance. The utility, for its part, is focused on education.

“Ridgewood Water will be engaging in an education campaign to help residents use better controls on their irrigation systems, to help conserve water,” Calbi said. “Rain sensors are inexpensive and easily installed, as are smart controllers, which run based on local weather conditions. If people water smarter and use some of these new technologies, we can save a lot.”

Michael Sedon, Ridgewood’s deputy mayor, thanked Calbi for working with them on the ordinance. “Water is a finite resource,” Sedon said. “I think if this can help even out the spikes, which it did last year, it is needed. This will only help make the utility stronger and preserve everybody’s water.”