Are you Smarter than your Irrigation System?
With July being Smart Irrigation Month, this is the perfect time to improve the efficiency of your outdoor irrigation system. The use of smart technologies can help you maintain beautiful landscapes while maximizing efficiency – and that means significant reductions on your monthly water bill. These water saving tips are useful whether you make the changes yourself or use a licensed irrigator:
- Inspect your system monthly. Irrigation systems need regular maintenance to work efficiently. Damage from lawn equipment or improper winterization can cause leaks and other serious problems. Run your system through all its zones and check for leaks, wet spots, water running from a single spot, geysers, and broken or clogged spray heads. You should clean clogged screens and microirrigation filters as needed.
- Adjust sprinkler heads. Is your driveway or front sidewalk wet after every irrigation cycle? Do you have dry spots in your yard despite regular watering? You may have one or more sprinkler heads pointed in the wrong direction. All you have to do is remove or correct obstructions that are preventing your sprinklers from evenly distributing water. You can easily adjust sprinkler head positions and spray patterns to avoid watering sidewalks or structures and to provide clearance over growing plants.
- Check the pressure. All sprinklers operate best at a water pressure that uniformly distributes the water. To provide system reliability and fire protection, water utilities also must maintain a minimum water pressure that may be higher than the irrigation system’s ideal pressure. The Irrigation Association notes that for every 5-point reduction in water pressure, you could decrease your water use by 6-8 percent. Reducing excessively high pressure also eliminates problems such as misting sprinklers and irrigation system damage. A licensed irrigator can reduce pressure by adding valves or replacing standard sprinkler heads with pressure-compensating heads.
- Install a rain shutoff switch. Inexpensive rain sensors prevent irrigation systems from running during and after rain showers, trimming irrigation by up to 35 percent. In College Station, rain sensors are required on new systems, but they can be retrofitted on almost any system. These sensors can even extend the life of your irrigation system.
- Get Smart about weather and irrigation needs. Texas Agrilife Extension outlines on its website how to adjust watering times to meet your landscape’s needs. This useful website site provides watering recommendations and run times based on rain, temperature and evapotranspiration data. Smart Climate or sensor-based controllers gather that information automatically and adjust the irrigation schedule based on weather or soil moisture conditions. Weather-based and sensor-based controls are available as standalone controllers or add-ons to existing controllers. These controls reduce irrigation by up to 70 percent without sacrificing the quality of your landscaping.
- Have your system audited. A licensed irrigator can conduct an irrigation audit and uniformity test to verify areas are being watered evenly and appropriately. The irrigator can also make adjustments and repairs, and switch out old technology with more efficient components. In addition, the City of College Station offers a free landscape irrigation check-up for customers concerned about high water use. Contact Jennifer Nations at 979.764.6223 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your check up today.
About Smart Irrigation Month
Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation.
Water Resource Coordinator