Newbie - Help with Water Restrictions

I live in the Los Angeles area and according to LADWP, i am only allowed to water Su, Tu, Thu for a max of 8 min per zone.

I just installed my Iro and system suggested watering times of 5 min per zone every three days - not surprised since it’s winter right now and so it’s cooler, sun is lower, etc. But the suggested schedule does not meet the watering restrictions - so now what am I supposed to do?

  1. I could go manually edit the watering times to make a Su/Tu/Th at 3 min per (roughly keeps the same water per week) and tick the “Is this a watering restriction?” toggle. If I do that will will the Water Budgeting then up the times as the weather gets warmer and we get into spring/summer, but keep the days fixed?

  2. How do I deal with the “Max of 8 min per zone” restriction we have as well? Should I set the times to 8 min and then use the “Seasonal Adjustment” to bring it to ~3min now?

  3. Can someone tell me exactly what turning on “Is this a watering restriction?” does? Does it lock the days? both days and times? days times and durations??

By the way, this should all be WAY easier to figure out than it is… Shouldn’t you ask the user enter whatever water restrictions are in play FIRST, then figure out / suggest the watering times accounting for the restrictions?

@steve28‌ Thanks for reaching out to the forum.

The watering restriction toggle does not do anything functionally, so I would ignore it.

If you want to water for 3 minutes per zone Su, Tu, Thur I would manually just set the day of week interval in the watering time to those days exclusively. If the watering time is set to 3-5 minutes per zone you shouldn’t hit the 8 minute limit with water budgeting. It will do slight adjustments every week based on the current weather. You can turn on weather intelligence which acts like a virtual rain sensor and will skip watering if it is raining, or has rained.

I agree, it should be simpler and more automated, and we have already started building from the ground up our mobile and webapp. We will be doing exactly what you are asking, and will also adjust the number of days automatically throughout the season, based on your restrictions as well as the current watering requirement for your yard.

Let us know if you have any more questions or feedback. Thanks!

@franz‌ - thanks so much for replying!

“The watering restriction toggle does not do anything functionally, so I would ignore it.”

Wow, that’s confusing… did it do something at one point in the past?

"We will be doing exactly what you are asking, and will also adjust the number of days automatically throughout the season, based on your restrictions as well as the current watering requirement for your yard. "

This is great news and exactly what I was hoping for.

Follow up questions:

  1. So when the app first picked watering times of 5 min ever 3 days… did that take into account the current season and recent weather? Or is that simply based on “average” for this time of year at my location?

2)For the past week or so it’s been high around 60. In the summer, the average high is in the 90’s with no rain from about April to Nov - so you think my 3 min wouldn’t grow beyond 8 by mid summer? I guess theoretically, we will be on the new software by then, but still curious how much the water budgeting can add/subtract.

  1. If I did something like 1 day per week, would the system adjust and give me the same amount of water as if I had it scheduled for 3 days a week?

@steve28‌ The watering restriction was something I shouldn’t have let in :smile:

  1. Yes, we look at the median evapotranspiration for the current month and calculate watering times from there.

  2. Yes, our new smart watering will be done WELL before April :smile: That was exactly one of the issues I had with water budgeting is that the baseline that was set was a poor way to accommodate for a lengthy watering period where you could start with 5 minutes in April and be up to something like 20 minutes in July.

  3. Currently no. With the new software roll-out we will be measuring daily depletion and only water when the yard needs it. The great thing is that now in Colorado for example we could theoretically be watering only once a month since evapotranspiration is so low, and then come July we will probably be watering every 2-3 days.

Let us know if you have any more questions, great to have community input and feedback!

@franz‌ with regard to 3) above - then I guess it takes whatever you set at the time you set it and scales up/down from there as the weather/seasons change (using ET and precipitation)?

@steve28‌ Current model, we set your schedule (or you adjust) and we will adjust the raw minutes each week based on current ET (like a rolling trendline). New model you will have a fixed irrigation amount that will only be applied when ET has depleted the soil of moisture. Does that help?

Have a great night!

Thanks, @franz. Yes, that helps. Clearly the new model is the way to go - that’s exactly what I was hoping Iro would do.

In the mean time, as far as what it’s doing between now and the new model takes over - I believe I have it now:

  • Weather Intelligence = fancy rain sensor (because it looks ahead at the next 24h)
  • Water Budget = adjusts your minutes per zone based on ET

And ET takes into account the recent and current conditions (wind, humidity, temp, etc.) and what you entered for the vegetation and shade in each zone.

Is this about right? I really appreciate you taking the time to educate me (and hopefully others benefit as well). It’s important to me to understand how it’s making its decisions before I turn something like this lose and just trust it. I just installed it today, and I’m very excited about seeing it do its thing!

@steve28‌ Yes, that is a nice summary of everything. As we get closer to releasing all of our new software, I will post on the forums what everything is shaping up to be and how to take advantage of it. Thanks!

Thanks @franz and @steve28 for this discussion. Like @steve28‌, my Iro is also installed in Southern California. In a leap of faith, I set it up on December 7 and immediately left on a three week trip to Colorado. To hedge my bet, I enabled a neighbor to override my settings using the web interface if he determined that I was under or overwatering.

While out-of-state, the majority of scheduled water times were skipped and my water schedule was twice updated. Water times were skipped due to occasional rain, and the schedule was changed due to both cooler than normal temperatures and the occasional rain.

Whereas I had expected the controller software to propose station run times specific to the associated plantings when I configured it, all twelve stations were initially set to nine minute run times. Over time, that has been reduced to five minutes. Apparently, I should have seeded the run times with what the replaced controller was configured to run unless I expected them to all run for the same duration.

The only strange behavior I have noticed is that when a water time is skipped, I receive a message implying a specific amount of rainfall was observed on the prior day, for example 2.56 inches. Then, two days later the water time I’ve noticed that the water time was again skipped on that same basis (2.56" the prior day). Strangely, I was advised that there had been no rain that week at home. So, I’ve been left to consider whether this was an error (2^8 units of water when there was none), the result of a defective PWS or other forecast, or whether it might mean the residual of a 2.56" rainfall the prior week may have been responsible. If so, it might have been better to indicate how much of the prior rainfall was calculated to still remain in the root zone. And I would have expected the number to decrease with time.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this, even if the algorithms will soon be obsolete.

@DavidH‌ Did you enable a PWS on your device? If the PWS is not yours I would be a little leery of the station. I have seen quite a few that the rain sensor gets stuck or they keep sending incorrect precipitation data to Aeris. The only real way to be guaranteed of that data is to own the PWS or track it on something like If you weren’t using a PWS we can check out the data you were seeing to validate if the METAR station was having issues.

Thanks and let us know if you have any other questions or feedback.

I am under LADWP restriction (Tue/Thu/Sun for 8min per zone, never 9a-4p) and since your controller knows my address why can’t the Rachio Gen3 just implement the restrictions for me?

As a Rachio Gen3 user I would like to tell the controller to observe the utilities restrictions letting it make smart choices but always respecting the restrictions.

Maybe have a “Under Restrictions?” button that then lets me select my water utility, then, using my address which you already know, implement the restricted schedule and ask me for any additional inputs, etc.

Please make this smarter and more user friendly :slight_smile:

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Great idea @ivanlawrence - I’ll shoot it over to the team for further research.