Information and Terms

PRESSURE

The water pressure in the Austin area is low. If a sprinkler system is not designed properly it will not work. This is a major problem and one our repair crews encounter often. There are several factors that go into designing the system. The foremost factor is the number of gallons that each zone is designed to flow. From there the size of pipe, valves, and pressure vacuum breaker must be determined. A good rule of thumb for a standard 5/8″ water meter is 12 gallons of water per minute. If your irrigator doesn’t know how many gallons each zone is designed for then he isn’t qualified to do the work.

ZONES

When watering your yard by hand you know that some areas need to be watered longer and more often than other areas. When a sprinkler system is designed these areas are called zones. Each zone should have a valve that controls the heads in that area allowing each area to be set for an appropriate watering schedule. The first item to consider in establishing a zone is to keep the grass and flower beds separate. The next is never mix rotating heads and fixed sprays. Other factors are the type of plant material in the zone and amount of sun, shade, and drainage patterns.

IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY

Water is the planet’s most valuable resource. It seems every summer in Austin we have to have water rationing in some of our neighborhoods. Sometimes the lack of water becomes critical and all outside watering by hand is stopped. However, many times people with sprinkler systems are allowed to continue to water. This is because a well designed system is much less wasteful than hand watering. The system to have maximum efficiency must have been designed with water conservation in mind. The heads should be spaced in a square pattern with one spray head spraying into another. They should have matched precipitation heads meaning that the same amount of water will be dispersed over equal distances.

Finally, the irrigator should program the controller for the correct run time for each zone and set the daily schedule according to the plant type, soil, and sun.