Turn-on & Efficient Water Management

It’s here, with the 2014 water season just round the corner now is the perfect time to check-out your landscape’s sprinkler irrigation system, looking for any water leaks or other performance issues. Right now (mid February) we have a very small snow pack in the mountains. This points to a possible very lean water year. This is when water conservation is most important. Being in the sprinkler irrigation service business I listen to what my customer wants. I may suggest ways of more efficient water management to save on water usage, but if they are not interested I will not push them.

In the water management page I mention: “head type, nozzle size, and spacing will affect your water run time minutes.” Let’s talk a little about that. Years ago when lawn sprinkler systems were relatively new in the market there were just three nozzle choices….(full 1/2 1/4) thats it…!!! In the currant Rain Bird catalog alone there are 59 different fixed angle choices including undercuts, 11 different variable arc nozzles (VAN), throw in the new rotary nozzles and the many different larger spacing rotor heads each with a 12 nozzle selection tree, it can easily be confusing of whats the best choice for each design situation. The goal here is to have the most even uniform water distribution through-out each water valve zone section. The lighter the water application or the less gallons per minute out-put allows the soil to a-sorb the water more efficient rather than running off the top. The 59 different nozzles each have a specific purpose and when properly matched it provides the best over-all efficiency. Along the rounded edges of cement curbing the proper (VAN) nozzles are a good compromise. In regard to the standard VAN nozzle the smaller spacing 4′ to 10′ nozzles put out up to four times more gallons per minute than the same # in a fixed nozzle, thus they have much water run off. I see many systems with this mistake. The new Rain Bird HE ( High Efficiency ) VAN nozzles have corrected this, but they do not mix and match well with the standard VAN nozzles because of there HE factor.

This is a lot of information I know, I have so much more I could share with you. I like the term “a picture is worth a thousand words” When I see a customers zone operate I can quickly see what needs to be done to make it work more efficient. What you the home-owner can do is your own water efficiency check. Empty tuna fish sized cans work well. place them through-out each sprinkler system zone. Run your zone for 5 to 10 minutes. Go around after and measure the water in each container, this will show you where the zone is over or under watering. The goal is to try to make the zone as even as possible through-out.

Refer to the “Water Management” page for your monthly water schedule.

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