Water savings is a multi-front battle. In honor of July as Smart Irrigation Month, here are some tips on how you can save water, see a reduction in your water bills and help the environment at the same time.
Design: Believe it or not, all the latest and greatest products do not always solve the biggest problem with wasted water – the design. Designing an irrigation system has the most effect on the efficiency. A system with poor spacing or improper placement of equipment creates flaws that simply cannot be fixed with improved technology. Sometimes we can improve the systems we see, but we have also encountered systems that were so poorly done that it was more cost efficient to start the project from scratch. Today’s irrigation is much more advanced that “just sticking a sprinkler in the yard.”
Technology: The irrigation industry has encouraged the message to conserve water in the last several years. We realize that as an industry, we are responsible for millions of gallons of water and good stewardship must start with us.
Sprinklers and controllers from as recently as five years ago are primitive compared to some of the new products offered today. Most manufactures have drastically improved the efficiency of the products they carry. There are heads with “rain curtain” technology that ensure even coverage and “smart” controllers that actually use temperature, plant type, shade, soil and slope to determine appropriate run times – all done automatically.
There are plenty of other products like drip irrigation, matched precipitation rotors, sensors and web-based control systems that are designed with water conservation in mind. Some of the newest products can cut water usage by 50 percent or more. Unless your system was installed with most recent water efficient products, there is always room for updated equipment.
Alternate sources: Water doesn’t always have to be bought from a municipal water supplier. We have recently installed projects that use water from ponds, lakes, streams, wells, air conditioning units’ waste water, rain water and non-potable water supplies. Often there are multiple sources from which we can obtain water. The expense can vary greatly on these projects, but with the increasing cost of water, they can be smart long-term investments.
System administrator: Ultimately the person overseeing the irrigation system has a huge impact on how much water is wasted. If timing is not set properly or adjusted for changing weather conditions, thousands of gallons of water can quickly be wasted. Without a regular review of the system, broken or damaged equipment can cause excessive water usage.
In today’s environment, it is possible to water extremely efficiently. It all starts with a design that adequately covers the needed areas with products that are installed properly, and a minimum amount of water used.
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