Over the last few years it has become impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news and not see or hear stories about worldwide water shortages. It’s a simple case of demand outpacing supply; each year the world population and water consumption per capita increases but the finite water supply becomes more difficult and expensive to deliver when and where needed. According to The Intelligent Use of Water, a recent White Paper by the Rain Bird Corporation on worldwide water problems “Since 1900 the U.S. population has doubled, but per capita water use has increased eightfold”. That simple case of demand outpacing supply means that water prices have and will continue to increase. It is certainly not as dramatic or as sudden as the pain at the pump we all feel, but it has happened and will only continue.
The true cost of delivering water is currently subsidized in many jurisdictions. Users in these areas still pay for the water, just in a less direct fashion. Municipalities now offering subsidies may be forced to charge users directly their true costs as the supply and demand gap increases. Those of us with grass, landscaping, some trees and perhaps a small vegetable garden will be most affected by the continuing increase in the cost of water. It simply takes a lot of water to protect our investments in our yards; in fact watering the average yard for an hour uses more water than a family of five would use showering for an entire week.
Shortages and higher prices, coupled with real or proposed restrictions have made the concept of water efficiency the hottest topic in the irrigation industry today. Water efficiency is all about using proven products and techniques in our automatic lawn sprinkler systems to deliver just the right amount of water at just the right time to the root zone-no more and no less. Water efficient automatic lawn sprinkler systems not only maintain healthy grass, landscaping, trees and perhaps vegetable gardens; they conserve precious water and your precious dollars.
If you own a lawn sprinkler system, may own one in the near future, or more importantly if you currently hand water a portion of your yard, please consider the following:
o Investing in an ET (evapotranspiration) control box that automatically adjusts your sprinkler system watering times based on local conditions reported by nearby weather stations.
o Converting your shrub beds from pop-up spray heads to drip irrigation. A drip system is extremely efficient because it slowly delivers water directly to the root zone; it is not subject to water run-off, evaporation, or overspray.
- Investing in a sprinkler audit of your irrigation system to determine its water efficiency rating. This analysis of soil types, sunlight exposure, slope conditions, water pressure, sprinkler spacing and type, controller programming and many other factors may dramatically reduce your water consumption, potentially saving thousands of dollars.
- Utilizing the cycle and soak feature available in some sprinkler controllers. This feature divides a run-time into shorter cycles followed by soak-in periods that prevent run-off and standing water.
Reed Libby is a native of Northern Virginia. He holds his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Dayton and his MBA from William and Mary. In 2002, he founded Affordable Lawn Sprinklers. Today they service approximately 2000 residential customers and numerous Home Owner Associations, Home Builders and Commercial Properties. Affordable Lawn Sprinklers design, installs, maintains and services lawn sprinkler and lighting systems.