Home » Water Management
In the desert, proper irrigation is a major issue for several reasons. First, since most living organisms require water to live, irrigation is the life-blood for everything that we take care of. And just like many things, either too much or too little of it can have negative consequences. Therefore, the maintenance and repair practices can heavily influence the overall quality of our projects.
Like the maintenance of the landscaping, there are “Best Practices” that apply to the maintenance and repair of irrigation systems. Below, several of the more important procedures that Paramount Landscape has developed are discussed:
Irrigation System Checks
When irrigation systems are working properly, the plants, trees and grass will all look good and be healthy. However, during the course of doing routine maintenance, sometimes sprinklers get knocked out of adjustment with the weedeaters or drip emitters get cut off with hedge trimmers. In addition, the irrigation components will break on their own due to weathering caused by the sun as well as normal wear and age.
Therefore, conducting a complete system review on every property at a minimum of every 6 months will ensure that water is not being wasted and that the plant material are being properly watered. A complete system review includes turning on every station from its timer in order to test the timer, the electrical circuitry, the valve and the water distribution components. By completing this extensive test, Paramount Landscape ensures that water usage is minimized but quality is not.
Irrigation Repair Standards
Paramount Landscape has established standards for irrigation repairs that all technicians follow to ensure that repairs are done right the first time. Below is a list of a few of our repair standards:
Sprinkler Heads – When repairing sprinkler heads, it is important to use the same type of head that is being utilized by the other heads on that zone since each manufacturer has different design techniques that result in different dispersion patterns and rates. Where rotors are used, it is important to match the nozzle sizes with the other heads on that zone. In all cases, swing joints are used to ensure that the heads are level with the turf.
Drip Hardware – Several comments can be made about installing/repairing drip system components. First, polydrip tubing should never be exposed to sunlight as it will accelerate the deterioration of it. Also, like sprinklers, every attempt should be made to use the same type of emitter that is being used in the rest of the system to ensure similar flow rates. Unused drip lines are plugged whenever observed to minimize wasted water. Lastly, the use of ¼” tees is prohibited unless absolutely necessary as they restrict proper flow, especially when more than one is used.
Valves – As mentioned above, the valves need to be checked from the timers in order to verify the proper operation of both the electrical and water circuits. Valve boxes should be kept clean of dirt and debris. Watertight connectors are always used when connecting electrical lines to solenoid wires to prevent premature corrosion, which occurs in any moist environment.
Moisture sensors are an important tool that can be used to measure the amount of water at any location on a lawn in order to ensure proper distribution of the sprinkler system. The meter is used as follows: 1) Remove the cap from the end of the probe; 2) Insert probe approximately 6” into the turf; 3) Read the meter on the top of the unit and record; 4) Use the following table to review readings:
When setting up watering schedules for lawn areas, the ideal situation is for a new cycle to start just as the moisture at a depth of approximately 6” becomes dry. Thus, it is important to measure the moisture just prior to an irrigation cycle to determine if a cycle is necessary or if it could wait another day. By honing in the watering frequency, the lawn will be maintained to a healthy state while minimizing the amount of water being used for the customer.
There is probably no easier nor cheaper method of reducing water consumption than by the installation of rain sensors. Rain sensors are typically installed adjacent to irrigation controllers and can be adjusted to skip irrigation cycles depending on the amount of rain that occurs. In short, customers who install rain sensors will rarely see their sprinklers operating in the middle of or shortly after a rainstorm. Therefore, Paramount Landscape strongly encourages their use and can install them for as little as $100 per unit.
Water Meter Readings
When available, water meter readings will provide additional water usage information. Since they are read after the use, they only can provide a retroactive view. However, by monitoring the trends month over month and year over year, they provide valuable insight as to problems that may have occurred. Therefore, Paramount Landscape encourages their use as another tool in the “toolbox” of Water Conservation.