During the summer about 75 percent of your water goes to watering lawns with July being the peak water use month in the west. It’s no surprise that the Irrigation Association has named July as Smart Irrigation Month and it has been widely adopted across the country.
As conservation has become more a way of life, irrigation companies have created new products that respond to weather and apply water more slowly, so it soaks in. Here are some products that you can utilize to become more efficient.
Rain and Freeze Sensors
We have all seen it: It’s raining and someone has their sprinkler system on. Installing a rain sensor will shut off your system during or right after a rain event. During the rainstorms of May, if everyone in Greeley had a rain sensor, about 90 million gallons of water could have been saved or about 275 acre feet of water. That is enough water to serve 600 homes for a year. Likewise, a freeze sensor can do the same thing by shutting of your system when temperatures approach freezing. Not only will these devices extend the life of your sprinkler system, but save you from wasteful and embarrassing situations.
These controllers also called ET or Smart controllers actually adjust irrigation systems based on local weather conditions. These controllers gather local weather information and some even factor in your exact landscape (plants, soil, exposure, slope) to make irrigation run-time adjustments, so your landscape receives appropriate amount of water. There are many controllers on the market with various weather input options. The savings from these devices can be substantial and convenient for the homeowner.
These controllers rely on soil moisture sensors placed below the ground in the root zones of lawns and landscapes to determine how long to water. These controllers can be a stand-alone controller or an add-on device to an existing controller. Each have shown to reduce irrigation water usage without sacrificing landscape quality.
All sprinklers operate best at a certain water pressure. At the correct pressure, the water distribution is the most uniform over the target area. That allows shorter runtimes and less dry spots. Reducing high pressure also eliminates problem such as misting sprinklers and potential irrigation system damage. For every 5-point reduction in water pressure you actually use 6-8 percent less water. Water pressure regulation devices are easily added to valves to control a whole zone ore can be added to individual sprinkler heads.
Low Precipitation Rate and High Efficiency Nozzles
Many great sprinkler nozzles are on the market today that use lower precipitation rates to reduce run-off or offer improved water distribution uniformity. Distribution uniformity is very important to reducing watering run times. Again, you want the entire area being watered to receive sufficient water to maintain green lawns and colorful plants, so the more uniform the water distribution, the shorter the watering run time will be for the driest spot. Be sure to inquire about these critical considerations when selecting sprinklers and nozzles.
Many of these products are eligible for rebates for city of Greeley water customers after getting an irrigation audit. A conservation specialist will make recommendations based on your system and you will qualify for rebates. Sign up online at greeleygov.com/audits.