HydroPoint remembers Tom Ash, water conservation pioneer

By edited by Sarah Bunyea

Ash spent his career championing smart irrigation technologies for years.

HydroPoint, Petaluma, California, remembers an important member of the irrigation community with the passing of Tom Ash, former HydroPoint director of conservation.

The company says that Ash was a pioneer of water sustainability and was loved for reasons beyond his expertise. HydroPoint would not exist today without his early work, passion, dedication and influence on conservation.

As a water horticulturist, Ash worked on three continents during droughts and wrote two books on water use efficiency. He started working with water agencies in 1987 and developed an expertise in conservation over the following decades. He helped design and implement the first water budget tiered rate structure in 1991 with the Irvine Ranch Water District. He was the first agency person to commission a study on the early WeatherTrak controller while at the IRWD. When Ash came to HydroPoint in 2003, he had been championing early smart irrigation technologies for years.

Ash was an educator who tirelessly worked to influence efficient water infrastructures across numerous territories and agencies. He spent the better part of his career helping organizations adapt to California legislation for water use efficiency. He developed the blueprint for agencies to stabilize revenue, increase efficiency and satisfy their communities.

“He could talk shop with a CEO minutes after finishing a field training session for 20 workers. He had that range of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm,” says Chris Manchuck, co-founder of HydroPoint. “Many times you had no idea what he was talking about, but it did not matter. You got on board because Tom was saying let’s go and you had to see what was next.”

During his time at HydroPoint, Ash directly influenced more than one multi-million dollar program for HydroPoint, as an indefatigable reformer for water conservation. He was instrumental in getting many water agencies and others to refine and improve weather-based sustainable water rate structures and billing systems.