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Water conservation tips

Supplier: Hills Irrigation
21 June, 2010

Hills Irrigation suggests following these water conservation tips.

  1. Set sprinklers to water early

    Set up systems to irrigate early in the morning, or according to Water Authority water restriction guidelines.

    This is the most efficient time to water because water can reach its destination without being evaporated by the sun or blown away by the wind.

    This will also save landscapes from disease caused by water sitting on plants overnight and prevents compaction caused by heavy traffic on wet soils (all Rain Bird Controllers offer multiple start time options).
  2. Consider a central control system

    For complete system automation on commercial sites, central control systems show annual water savings of 25 - 30% on average.

    A central control system operates a single or multiple controllers, sensors and other irrigation devices from one central location.

    It contains all of the functions listed in the Controller section above plus additional sensors that monitor and control environmental conditions automatically and without the need for personal intervention.

  3. Use an automatic shut-off device

    Adding an automatic shut-off device can result in 15-20% in water savings.

    Install an automatic shut-off device like a rain sensor or moisture sensor on every system. These devices automatically shut-off the controller when it is raining or when sufficient soil moisture is reached.

    They prevent over-watering and the bad publicity that results from sprinklers running when it rains (Rain Bird's Rain Sensors or Moisture Sensor).

  4. Install direct-to-plant-root irrigation in non-turf areas

    Use drip irrigation for shrubs, flowers, and other non-turf areas.

    Drip irrigation systems deliver precise amounts of water slowly and evenly at the plant's roots, eliminating water waste, run-off and over spray onto windows, walks and streets.

    The slow, consistent application of water at the plant root reduces weeds and plant disease, and helps plants to thrive (Rain Bird's Low Volume Drip Products, Irrigation Supplement, and Root Watering System for trees).

  5. Use high efficiency nozzles for uniform coverage

    Use nozzles that apply water evenly and save up to 30% in water usage.

    This is best achieved using matched precipitation rate nozzles (MPR and U-Series spray head nozzles and all rotor nozzles). If precipitation is not matched, the system must be set to water the area that is putting down the least amount of water, thereby over-watering the other areas and wasting water.

    High efficiency nozzles (U-Series nozzles on spray heads and Rain Curtain nozzles on rotors) are matched precipitation nozzles that provide the best and most uniform coverage, thereby eliminating watering gaps and reducing water usage by as much as 30%.

  6. Use check valve devices to prevent low head drainage

    In landscaping with different elevations, water flows down to the lowest head on the system and drains out, causing puddling, erosion, and run-off.

    A check valve or pre-installed Seal-A-Matic (SAM) device prevents the water from draining out by trapping the water in the lateral line (SAM available on 1800Series and UN I-Spray Spray heads and all Rain Bird rotors).

  7. Use pressure regulating devices in high pressure situations

    Every 35 kPa reduction in water pressure reduces water usage by 6-8%.

    The savings are over 50% if a 450 kPa spray zone is reduced to the recommended 206 kPa. So, design for an optimum 206 kPa water delivery to spray heads to avoid wasteful misting/fogging. This can be achieved with pressure regulating spray heads (1800-PRS), pressure reducing valves (PRV), and pressure regulating modules installed on valves (PRS-D)

    For low pressure situations which can result in uneven coverage, use a high efficiency pump (Rain Bird's BP Series or CRE Series Pumps)

  8. Design for different plant needs and environmental conditions

    Set up irrigation zones and schedules for plants based on the water needs of your plant groupings.

    This will require more zones and may cost more initially but will save water in the long run. For example, suppose a landscape includes grass, shrubs, and trees, and the grass requires more water to stay healthy than do the shrubs and trees. If everything is on the same zone, the watering needs will be dictated by the grass, and the shrubs and tress will be over-watered.

    With separate zones controlled by separate programs on a controller, you can divide the schedule into smaller, more precise watering times and apply on the water needed for the particular plant (all Rain Bird controllers include a minimum of two programs).

  9. Promote the water/cost saving benefits of water conserving products

    Water conservation products are better for the environment AND they can save money.

    Some customers may need to be educated on the benefits of purchasing a more expensive water conserving product, even though it will save them money in the long run. For an example, consider recommending the Rain Bird 1800-PRS pressure regulating spray head.

    By upgrading to a pressure regulating device on a spray head, your customers can save water and money. Design, install, and sell water-conserving products that benefit the environment and the customer's pocket.