Water is our planet’s most precious resource. And with only 1% easily available for human use, installing pressure-regulated irrigation systems is an efficient method to conserve water in the communities where we live, work and play. That’s the idea behind the recent wave of stricter water use legislation nationwide.
To be offered for sale in California, spray bodies manufactured on or after October 2020 must be pressure-regulated to encourage reduced water use. This requirement applies to spray bodies sold for installation in both new systems and retrofits. Vermont, Washington, Colorado and Hawaii have introduced similar regulations with more states to follow.
But why have states begun targeting the irrigation industry?
When irrigation systems exceed ideal pressures, it wastes huge amounts of water. It also shortens irrigation system life.
Optimizing pressure extends the system’s life span by preventing damage to pipes, fittings and emission devices. In addition, reducing excessive flow rates maximizes system performance and efficiency.
This lessens misting from overhead devices and increases uniformity across zones for more efficient water use.
The good news? Pressure-regulated irrigation products are available to help you comply with new irrigation requirements for spray bodies. A range of other solutions are also available to optimize pressure regulation in any irrigation setup, from rotors to valves to microirrigation.
Controlling pressure for peak performance
Pressure regulation boosts system efficiency and helps keep irrigation equipment in top shape. Choosing a specific pressure regulation solution depends on the needs of each site. With different types of pressureregulated products available, you can choose the method and combination that works best for you.
For overhead irrigation, you can regulate at the head level. Controlling pressure at the sprinkler heads ensures all nozzles operate at the same, ideal pressure for balanced performance. The result is higher uniformity, minimal misting and lower flow rates.
If you’re using rotors instead of spray bodies, pressure regulation can still help maximize water savings and prolong system life. For larger areas of coverage, look to pressure-regulated rotors. These rotors take incoming pressures of 50-100 psi and reduce them to 45 psi. As a result, the rotor operates at peak efficiency without extra wear on the internal components.
The pressure of an entire property can be regulated at the point of connection using a mainline pressure regulator or at the valve to provide optimal pressure for an entire zone.
For systems with higher pressures, use two-step pressure regulation to protect irrigation equipment and optimize performance. Step the pressure down at the mainline or at the valve to protect the downstream equipment. Then step down the pressure again at the heads for balanced, optimal performance across all the sprinkler nozzles.
Drip control zone kits
If you have irrigation that delivers water with pinpoint accuracy, control zone kits can be excellent pressure-regulated solutions. Designed specifically for microirrigation applications, each convenient, allin-one kit includes a preassembled valve, filter and pressure regulator for quick and easy installation.
Ideal for various applications like gardens, vineyards or conservation areas, these low-flow systems apply water evenly at a slower rate. This gives water more time to soak in for maximum absorption and minimal soil erosion.
Water policy leaders agree that drip irrigation can provide water savings. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends using microirrigation in landscape applications to achieve water savings up to 50%. The Southern Nevada Water Authority, a regional regulatory agency in the arid Southwest, advises drip irrigation as part of their Water Smart Landscapes initiative‚ which has helped save billions of gallons of water since the program was established in 1999.
As more states pass pressure regulation laws for spray bodies, switching now to compliant systems will save you time, money and energy. To maximize water savings beyond spray bodies, be sure to add pressure regulation to valves and microirrigation systems as well. With these watersaving irrigation products, you’ll be able to protect our most precious resource, maximize the efficiency and longevity of your irrigation system, and avoid costly upgrades later on.
The author is the senior product manager for Hunter Industries.