While water conservation continues to be top of mind in the drought-stricken West, responsible water use is an issue that everyone needs to think about, regardless of geographical location. Our industry can take action today to preserve the enjoyment of the outdoors for tomorrow. It will take a partnership of manufacturers and irrigation professionals to address our current water-conservation needs and come up with proven water saving solutions.
The good news is that product water saving solutions already exist. While products are one part of the solution, regionally appropriate plant choices and the selective use of turf are a must. Well-informed installers play a vital role in adapting and efficiently irrigating outdoor spaces. Irrigation professionals can count on existing high-quality products and online and local training to help achieve water savings.
Retrofitting spray systems with more efficient rotary sprinklers is the easiest way to see an immediate reduction in water use. And every system, no matter where it’s located, should have a smart controller that delivers water based on local weather conditions. Other solutions include converting small areas from overhead spray to drip irrigation, and adding pressure regulation to any system for optimal product performance.
It’s important to team up with manufacturers who make water conservation a top priority when it comes to developing products and providing training and support.
Here are a few simple changes to dramatically reduce outdoor water use.
Smart Control with Remote Management
– Save up to 50 Percent. By combining a smart controller with webbased software, contractors can achieve up to 50 percent water savings for their customers. Some controllers allow management of irrigation systems from anywhere in the world at any time via computer or smartphone. They connect to the internet, allowing for easy adjustments of watering schedules based on accurate weather data including temperature, rainfall probability, wind and humidity. Add an easily installed flow meter to measure water usage and detect broken pipes or sprinklers. Constant monitoring of electrical current flows allows contractors to receive alerts before issues turn into problems. Cloud-based software shows customers water savings and water use available for both home owners and contractors, a function that customers have learned to appreciate.
Replace Inefficient Sprays With Matched-Precipitation Rotating Nozzles
– Save up to 30 Percent. This simple upgrade allows you to efficiently irrigate existing turf areas and landscaping. Just switch from inefficient traditional spray nozzles to matched-precipitation rotating nozzles and realize 30 percent water savings. These nozzles apply multiple streams of water slowly and evenly, mimicking natural rainfall that gently soaks into the soil without runoff or misting. The various streams of rotating nozzles allow them to target all areas of the landscape evenly, yielding superior uniformity over traditional spray nozzles. With the slow application rate, a longer run time means more even coverage than sprays can offer, while still saving water.
Convert Areas to Drip Irrigation
– Save up to 60 Percent. For medians, narrow landscaping beds and planters, reducing turf and converting from sprays to inline drip irrigation or point-source emitters can yield up to 70 percent in water savings. Drip irrigation provides slow, even watering for close-in coverage right where it’s needed with no overspray onto the hardscape.
Slow the Flow – Regulate the Pressure
– Save up to 50 Percent. Install pressure regulators to achieve the optimal pressure for sprinklers, emitters and valves. Pressure regulation at the valve will increase watering efficiency and system reliability. Pressure-regulated spray bodies will regulate pressure at the nozzle for a steady, efficient spray at 30 or 40 PSI. This will save water lost from misting and runoff on systems with high pressure.
Other Ways to Save Water
- Check the System. Inspect your irrigation system for leaks, clogs, and wear that are silently wasting gallons of water. At a minimum, adjust sprinkler nozzles to eliminate overspray onto hardscapes.
- Modify the Space. Be selective with turf areas. Keep turf only where it’s practical and use a grass that’s regionally appropriate. Replace thirsty plants with native and drought-tolerant plants. Remember to add mulch to reduce evaporation and moderate soil temperature.
By adopting any one or all of these solutions, you will see significant savings in water use and play an active role in water conservation for currrent and future generations.
by Kevin Lewis a LEED Green Associate who has joined the Northeast Sales Team for Hunter Industries.