A significant number of Houston area homeowners live in areas with Homeowners Associations governing their neighborhood. Homeowners Associations are responsible for protecting the property values of subdivisions, neighborhoods, and master-planned communities through creating and enforcing neighborhood regulations, and also maintaining common areas of the neighborhood such as entrances, walking trails, parks, and roadways. Although HOAs set annual budgets for the annual or monthly fees they collect from residents, those budgets can balloon due to large spikes in utility costs from high water usage. In today's blog post, we'll look at three ways HOAs in the greater Houston area can conserve water usage for property management, and reduce both utility costs and fees for residents.
Upgrade Irrigation Systems
One direct method for conserving HOA water usage for maintaining neighborhood grass, trees, and plants is to upgrade irrigation systems to more cost-effective and low maintenance systems. Outdated irrigation systems lack the technology to detect changes in weather conditions or rainfall, leading to wasted water or oversaturated lawns. However, new smart controllers and irrigation sensors can detect rainfall levels, weather conditions, and soil moisture levels. All of these upgraded technologies allow for HOAs to conserve water usage while still ensuring the neighborhood remains beautiful, healthy, and stable.
Far too often, irrigation systems and water features (such as fountains) are installed in communities and never looked at again unless a component breaks or functions improperly. HOAs should schedule annual irrigation system inspections to ensure all zones and components are in proper working order, particularly during summer months when landscapes and trees need water the most. Regular inspections by irrigation professionals can detect leaks in the system, broken valves, malfunctioning sprinkler heads, or zones that need adjustment in water direction or pressure. Water fountains and other water features need to also be inspected to ensure all motors and filtration systems are functioning properly. These proactive steps can go a long way in conserving water usage and reducing utility costs.
Monitoring Water Usage
Finally, HOAs should also closely monitor water usage on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis to check for spikes in water usage or unusual activity. Any abnormal spike in water usage could indicate technical glitches or leaks within an irrigation system or water feature. Although fountains, sprinkler heads, valves, and other major components may appear to be in proper working order, a hidden leak in an irrigation system or fountain can cause water usage and utility costs to spike dramatically. Leaks in an irrigation system or water feature could go undetected for weeks, months, or even years, significantly impacting the health, beauty and value of the neighborhood property.