Mapping Civic Sprinkler Metrics With GIS

Rarely are sprinkler systems researched to determine nuanced solutions for a widespread drought. But in Southern California, that is exactly what the Fontana Public Works Department is doing. I was skeptical at first. How does a small municipal department collect enough data to measure current water application and compare it to a scientifically determined target? You’d have to know practical things such as how much water to apply and how much area you need to wet.

It’s a boon to other drought-stricken areas to humble my skepticism. The Fontana Public Works Department compiled information such as water meter size, location and consumption. The data resides in a geodatabase run by the City of Fontana.

The GIS system is used to:

  1. Determine appropriate water budgets;
  2. Monitor water application as specified by guidelines in California Assembly Bill 1881;
  3. Monitor the city’s Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

These guidelines and regulations mandate that municipalities only irrigate the amount necessary and stay within water budgets. This picture of the Water Application system tells a story about the unnecessarily high irrigation output in the area. Each dot represents a water meter’s output. Red indicates the output is over budget, while green shows output is within budget.


Click here to learn more about Rogelio Matta, Senior Administrative Analyst, and Joe Field, GIS Administrator of the Fontana Public Works Department, and their innovative Water Application System.

Sachin Shah