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City Council Agenda Item No. 05

 

Meeting Date: June 11, 2002

Subject/Title: Authorize the City Manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Green Leaf Mapping and Control Systems for landscape water use management

Submitted by: Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation
Ken De Silva, Park Services Manager

Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager


RECOMMENDATION
Approve the Professional Services Agreement with Green Leaf Mapping and Control Systems effective July 1, 2002. 

PREVIOUS ACTION
None.

BACKGROUND
One constant in any lush, thriving landscape is the appropriate application of water to the plant. Too much or too little can stress and kill the plant. In most of the City landscape areas, we have trees, shrubs, turf and flowers close together and in some environments, sharing space. As a result, determining the right application of water is critical and has to consider soil type, sprinkler type, temperature, wind, water pressure and a host of other issues. Most situations where landscape is struggling, the application of water is a part of the problem. Because the use of water is such an important part of a well maintained park and landscape system, staff has been looking at ways to make sure we are using only the amount of water necessary in our application.

However, the use of water also has financial implications. Many of the original Engineer’s Reports for the older LLD’s did not factor in the cost of water used in the maintenance of the landscape environment. As a result, there are financial and conservation reasons to use the correct amount of water necessary in our applications.

Staff is recommending entering into a Professional Services Agreement with Green Leaf Mapping & Control Systems to provide landscape water management services to the City of Brentwood Parks Division. Based on our preliminary estimates, the cost for the water audits will be paid for by the savings in the cost of water necessary to water our landscape areas.

Green Leaf Mapping and Control Systems will be provided for two different classes of sites, based upon funding sources - City parks and Landscape and Lighting Districts. A component of this program is to provide an initial assessment of the existing landscape quality that will provide a benchmark measurement of the quality of contracted landscape maintenance services.

The purpose of the water management program is to provide the optimum amount of landscape water in relation to weather demand and plant needs and to reduce water wasted by implementing improved irrigation controller schedules. The services will include irrigation mapping, irrigation schedule development processes, auditing of landscape water use and the reporting and analysis of water use with web-based water management tools. Landscape quality inspection and reporting program employs GIS-based maps.

The program consists of:

Irrigation mapping
The water management program involves the identification of the location of all valve circuit areas for all automated overhead irrigation valves. To accomplish this, Green Leaf runs irrigation and maps each valve area in the field. The field map is then digitized to produce digital maps. This map displays the clock and station identification for each valve circuit area.

Irrigation schedule analysis
During the irrigation season, the landscape contractor will provide Green Leaf with the current month’s irrigation schedules no later than the 10th of the month. The irrigation schedules are analyzed by evaluating the minutes of irrigation run time, plant water requirement, valve circuit characteristics and the level of environmental demand. Valve areas are then identified that appear to be over- or under-watered based upon the analysis.

Field tests
Field tests are performed to check irrigation circuits identified in the irrigation schedule analysis as inappropriately watered, based upon plant type, sprinkler type and other landscape characteristics. The field test may involve soil moisture sampling or identification of irrigation problems that cause poor distribution uniformity. Field information is used to refine the irrigation base schedule. (See Attachment 3.)

Irrigation base schedule development
A monthly irrigation base schedule is developed based upon current controller settings, the feedback of soil moisture and other field test results and comparison of current plant water needs based on our local weather station data as a reference. Through a series of adjustments, the base schedule is gradually refined to provide the optimum amount of water to the landscape.

Water use audits
Green Leaf will track landscape water use to detect excess water use and to determine whether water use is staying within budget. This audit employs water cost totals provided by the City obtained from our water bills. The client will provide Green Leaf with annual dollar water budget totals, based either upon the amount budgeted for current year’s water use or upon a two- or three-year water budget history or meter readings.

Irrigation reports
A monthly water management report is maintained online in a database containing a table showing the landscape contractor’s irrigation controller settings with irrigation run days, cycle start times and irrigation run times for all stations for each irrigation program. Also provided for each station is an alert for apparent over-or under-watering, 

A Water Budget Chart is included at intervals depending upon the water-billing period. This tracks water use based upon total water cost amounts for each property class Parks and Landscape and Lighting Districts provided by the client. It tracks water expenses against a pre-determined water budget over the course of the year. Any excess expenditure in a billing period or for the year-to-date is reported.

Quality Control 
The landscape quality control program will include landscape mapping, site inspections and reporting on the condition of facilities. The inspection program will employ a process of setting levels of expected quality, determined by the City, based upon existing contract specifications with their landscape contractor. Site inspections are then performed to identify the conditions that cause inspection areas to fail to achieve expected quality, and the inspection results are used to improve site quality. 

The landscape inspection program involves a two-month inspection cycle. In the first month of the cycle, a complete inspection of all landscape areas is performed, and each landscape area is evaluated for quality of maintenance based upon the presence of landscape conditions for a number of inspection categories. In the second month of the inspection cycle, a follow-up inspection is performed to determine the progress made in correcting the conditions identified in the complete landscape inspection

FISCAL IMPACT
Initial Cost $102,072
Expected Water Savings/yr. $140,000


ATTACHMENTS
Proposal from Green Leaf Mapping and Control Systems
Costs Summary of Water Conservation and Quality Assessments

 
City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
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Brentwood, CA 94513
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E-mail allcouncil@brentwoodca.gov