With California's water reserve at an all time low, many cities
have begun to enforce various regulations and penalties on water
usage. Some municipalities have restricted watering to three days
per week with limits to how many minutes each station / valve can
water. In addition, tiered penalties for over watering have been
implemented in almost all agencies.
Residential water consumption is the largest contributor to California's urban water use, more than 2.2 trillion gallons of water per year. Irrigation accounts for more than half than use.
There have been many technological advances in irrigation and water conservation. Many irrigation manufactures have developed products that help dramatically reduce irrigation water usage. We at Cal-West have worked diligently to research all products available to help our clients save both water and money.
With a minimal initial investment, we have helped many of our clients save on average 20-30% of their annual water use. This has brought there consumption to levels below standards set by local water agencies and have not only saved 20-30% water usage and expense.
There are a few factors that contribute to overages in water use. Studies have shown that an estimated 30-40% of irrigation water is wasted each year. A few main contributing factors apply:
- Distribution Uniformity: This is how evenly the system distributes water to your turf or planting areas. 70%DU is considered good, where irrigation watering times need to bee increased 30% or more in order to have sufficient water applied to all areas. However, many irrigation systems are within the 45-60% range.
- Failure to adjust irrigation schedules based on current evapotranspiration rates. Controllers are programmed with set times that do not adjust based on current weather conditions unless changed manually.
- Irrigation run-off; where water is being applied faster than the soil can absorb it.
mentioned, there have been many technological advances in irrigation
and water conservation.
Irrigation "Smart" controllers are available which use data received by CIMIS and NOAA weather station and satellites. The data received includes anything from temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind, precipitation, etc. to calculate the Evapo-Transpiration (ET) rate through out the United States. That data is received by ET or Smart controllers each evening and adjusts watering schedules based on the ET data received. Controllers are pre-programmed with site specific data such as turf or shrub, slope for flat, soil type, plant type based on water needs, and much more. The water applied is what the landscape needs, eliminating over-watering. This alone could save 20-30% water usage per year.
Rotating Nozzles (MP Rotators):
Another product available now are high efficiency nozzles or rotating nozzles. These fit on most any sprinkler body. Benefits are:
- Low application rates (GPM) which reduces water run-off.
- Multi-trajectory streams which increase distribution uniformity (DU)
- Automatic matched precipitation even after arc & radius adjustment which also increases DU.
How We Can Help
There are many options available that would help reduce your water usage. Outlined below are services we supply and steps that can be made:
- Perform an irrigation audit including, testing all irrigation to ensure all is functioning properly. Conduct an irrigation distribution uniformity (DU) test to see how evenly water is being applied.
- Retrofit all irrigation controllers with ET Smart controllers. These range from simple modules to more advanced controllers systems.
- Convert turf irrigation to rotating nozzle (MP Rotators) to increase distribution uniformity (DU).
- A more aggressive option for turf would be installing synthetic turf, eliminating the need for irrigation.
With the above steps, water usage can be reduced by more than 20-30%. Please feel free to contact us and let us show you how you can save both water and money.