Irrigation Spotlight: Water Conservation

  June 21, 2012

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, irrigation and water conservation.

Landscape sustainability is become a hot-button issue grounds managers. It also has become a boardroom priority in many institutional and commercial facilities, and managers without a plan for sustainability soon will fall into the minority. The challenge for managers developing and implementing a plan comes from tougher local conservation rules, ever-increasing water costs, and stiffer federal regulations.

The good news is that technology has come a long way. A plethora of new techniques and technologies can help produce sustainable landscapes. Using the latest intelligent water-conservation and landscaping strategies, managers can earn a three-year return on investment, as well as pretty hefty annual cost savings.

Before specifying an irrigation system, managers will need a professional design prepared by a certified irrigation designer. This design should incorporate the latest technology and most efficient irrigation methods. The design might come with an additional cost, but the long-term return on investment will provide greater benefits.

The system also should include a smart controller to take advantage of the many new technologies available within the system. Some of these technologies include flow-control valves, soil-moisture sensors, remote-control options, and on-site weather stations. To save potable water, managers can recycle many water sources from buildings and grounds for use on landscapes. For example, managers can recycle captured rainwater, blowdown water from boilers and cooling towers, recycled gray water, and even air-conditioner condensate.

Managers also can arrange to have treated water from a public agency conveyed to the landscape for non-potable landscape use. Reusing this water creates a net benefit to the local watershed by using the landscape as a filter and part of the natural water-treatment process.


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