Saturday, February 14, 2009

Over half of your water never reaches your house?

The EPA and water providers across the country have been studying our water use. Water shortages in small towns to large metropolitan areas have forced water providers to gather data about usage patterns so they can find solutions to our growing demand.

One standout in the data is that nationally about 30% of the water that passes through our water meters goes straight to our landscaping. AMWUA (Arizona Municipal Water Users Assoc.) publishes 60% for Arizona. Why is that important? Because the estimated residential landscape water use in this country is roughly 7 billion gallons of water per day. My guess is this makes landscape irrigation the largest single water user in the American household. That has the EPA's attention. Worse yet, the study also show that roughly half of that water is wasted. How?

1) Over watering. Believe it or not, automatic controllers are part of the problem.

2) Deficient system design and function. Some systems just need a tune-up, others were just designed poorly and some weren’t designed at all.

3) Large lawns. The number one water user in most landscapes.

4) Evaporation and run-off. Some experts believe that when you water during the heat of the day, 60% of the water simply evaporates. Watering during the heat of the day in the summer isn’t good for desert plants either.

5) Leaks. A leaking valve can run through hundreds of gallons a day for weeks before you notice it. Some very small leaks make a big impact when they leak 24-7.

Not to worry. I’m going to cover each of these items in a series of D.I.Y. articles over the next few weeks. Each article will cover the most common reasons I see for the above problems and a number solutions for each. I’ll tell you what to look for and how to fix the problem. If you don’t want to fix it yourself, at least you’ll understand the issue better. You’ll be better prepared to talk to your sprinkler pro and you might even be able to tell if he really is a pro.

I always advocate hiring an experienced irrigation professional to maintain your system. Landscape Maintenance people usually don’t have the experience or the training to keep your system running properly. Some of the better maintenance companies will have a dedicated irrigation staff. This is a much better choice.

Of course you can always call me. Landscape Irrigation is how I got started in this industry and I will always have a passion for it. I would love to come out and help you tune up your system, perform a system Audit or replace your system with a more efficient design and the latest in water wise equipment.

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