Residential Irrigation ManagementThursday, July 9th, 2009 by Michael Moore
Our most precious resource is water but here in the United States we take it for granted. We continue to use clean drinking/bathing water for every aspect of our lives. Here in CA we are in a drought. A law has already been passed to reduce the amount of water each homeowner can use. The law is AB 1881 and can be further investigated on the website: CUWCC.com.
If golf courses are taken out of the equation residential irrigation is our biggest waste of water in all communities. There is very little education for proper water management unless you go out of your way to look for it. Even the community gardener has no idea how to manage landscape-watering needs. There is an irrigation association and more and more landscape contractors are seeing the importance of becoming irrigation auditors to be able to maintain healthy landscapes yet still conserve water.
How many sidewalks and gutters do we see in each and every neighborhood full of water every morning of the week? Many times you will see water running down the sidewalk or driveways when the sprinklers come on and the lawns do not look that great. How much water does a front lawn need in the city of San Mateo in the month of July with a spray type system? 10 minutes, 20 minutes?? Without doing a physical audit no one can say. We all have clay soil in the bay area and it compacts greatly, especially if the lawn is used often. Turning the sprinklers on and watching the clock will give you an idea of how much water the lawn’s soil can absorb before the water begins to run off and the soil can no longer absorb anymore. IT may be as little as 2 minutes. Can a lawn stay green or even survive with 2 minutes of water? No it may need as much as 10 minutes just to stay alive. This is where an irrigation auditor can help to program your irrigation controller so that your lawn and shrubs are getting the proper amount of water without 80% going down into the gutters of the street.
Masterpiece Gardens has been actively getting involved in water conservation with Bay Area associations to be a part of the solution and help educate not only ourselves but our clients and friends as well. We are Landscape Irrigation Auditors now, licensed by the state of California. We are working with Irrigation manufacturers to find better technology to help conserve water.
We are currently installing the following system components to conserve water:
- SMART controllers with ET monitors
These controllers will be mandatory starting 2012. All existing controllers will need to be changed out if they fail, parts will no longer be available for older controllers. All new construction will have to have SMART controllers by 2010.
- Water sensors: Installed at the root zone to measure moisture content in the soil.
- Low Volume sprinkler heads.
Combining these (3) components together will provide a 30% minimal savings and even higher with new systems.
Masterpiece Gardens & Design, Inc. is an award-winning garden landscape design/build firm that has been creating beautiful environments for Bay Area residents since 1994. Owner Michael Moore began his landscaping career at the age of 15. He and his team share a lifelong passion for working outdoors and love of plants and nature that is evident in all of their work.