Is Your Irrigation System Water Savvy?
|By VANESSA WEST|
WATER CONSERVATION INITIATIVES HAVE SKYROCKETED over the past few years forcing many cities into mandatory water restrictions. Some mandate an overall usage reduction while others restrict days and time of acceptable watering periods. Consumers that stray outside the restrictions will pay dearly due to higher water fees. What does this mean for the end user? Increased costs to keep your lawns healthy and uniform. Here are a few tips to employ in the field that will keep your clients lawns looking lovely while staying within budget.
Check your heads
Sprinkler heads can be a huge source of water waste yet an easy way to cut usage. Nozzles manage water distribution by controlling water volume, helping to keep your lawn’s appearance consistent. They also manage where your water is distributed. Adjusting broken heads or replacing them altogether to avoid overspray on sidewalks and buildings can save 20 gallons per day or more. Furthermore, studies have proven that rotary nozzles are the most efficient way to water your landscape besides using drip, which also have extremely low precipitation rates, are easy to install and maintain water levels.
Huge grassy lawns can be a drain on water supply and your wallet. Instead, install drought tolerant trees and shrubs. Plants such as nyalla, little becca and tasred are excellent for hot climates that experience little rainfall. They are just as aesthetically pleasing yet require little to no maintenance. Furthermore, applying mulch around plants can save hundreds of gallons a year by reducing evaporation. Take a class in native landscaping to build your repertoire. Many local universities and water departments offer courses—some are free of charge.
Smart controllers that is. These days, controllers take all the guess work out of irrigation. Controllers, such as E.T. (evapotranspiration) controllers, automatically adjust timing, frequency and amount of water needed according to environmental changes. They employ sensors to increase or decrease irrigation Photo courtesy: Rain Bird needs and have the ability to stop watering altogether during rain, low temperatures and windy conditions. On average, smart controllers reduce water waste by 15 to 30 percent. Installing them might make you eligible for a rebate, further increasing your cost savings.
Timing is everything
Whether or not you employ smart controllers, resetting timers to before sunrise and after sunset will help keep your clients water costs down and your business up. Watering lawns during this period not only cuts down on water loss due to evaporation but also because of less wind diffusion. Be sure to remember to adjust timings during seasonal changes when daylight hours increase (i.e. fall to summer) and daylight savings.
In this economy keeping the client happy while maintaining a profit is difficult. Using the above techniques should help ease some of this tension.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Vanessa West is marketing coordinator for Pierre Sprinkler & Landscape Company, Monrovia, California