New weather system to help residents measure water needs

POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 3:46pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- It's called an "evapotranspiration tower".

A weather system that measures rainfall, humidity, solar radiation and wind.

"It's access able on the web so anyone can look at that data and it's got a little calculator on there that tells you, you choose what kind of grass you have and it takes the data that it has recorded and tells you 'you need to water or you don't need to water'," said Jonathan Echols, spokesman for Waco Water Utilities.

He said the system is about conserving.

"It'll help people get a real picture of how much water they really need to use so they're not using too much. So they'll be able to save money and as a whole city we're not wasting water," said Echols.

And since the tower is centrally located at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course it provides the most accurate reading for homeowners and golf courses.

"When water is scarce like we had this past summer it's important for golf to step up and do everything we can to reduce our usage as much as possible," said Jim Moore, director of education of the U.S. Golf Association.

In 2011, Cottonwood used more than double the amount of water than the year before with nearly 95 million gallons.

"We definitely don't want to waste water but we also don't want turf loss. If we know the plant can survive a little longer according to that evapotranspiration rate well then we can push it a little bit farther," said J.D. Franz, Golf Course Superintendent.

The city of Waco used 585 million gallons last year, almost 200 gallons above normal.

So officials say a number like that makes the $6,300 pricetag seem like a bargain.

To find out how you can access the weather system information log onto:



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