Inside the Toolbox of an Irrigation Assessment

This summer, CAP Management’s Sustainability efforts are focused on water conservation through sustainable landscaping. Some estimates suggest that 50% of all potable water in Colorado is used for irrigation purposes! Excessive irrigation often results in massive water bills, especially during the hot summer months, and sadly, much of this water is wasted. Irrigation systems are riddled with inefficiencies – from deferred maintenance, to poor design, and improper scheduling. Our Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris Marion, is a trained irrigation auditor and has been helping communities save water and money for several years now.

The first step towards conservation is conducting an Irrigation Assessment. Here are some of the tools we use:

Property map

When assessing an irrigation system on a large property, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. A good property map however, allows you to organize efficiency notes and recommendations zone by zone, which makes the whole process more understandable.

Reverse pliers

Have you ever tried to pull a pop-up sprinkler head out of the ground? It can be difficult to get a hold of the sprinkler head since it is spring loaded to stay down. Reverse pliers make this job a lot easier by allowing you to secure it upright while changing a nozzle or filter.

Sprinkler head adjustment keys

If a sprinkler zone has a substantial amount of overspray onto the sidewalk or asphalt, it’s probably time to make some adjustments to the sprinkler head’s radius and arc. The radius adjusts how far the water is emitted from the nozzle. The arc is the spray pattern, measured from 0 to 360 degrees. Both the radius and the arc can be adjusted with the right tools to keep more water on the grass and less on the parking lot!

Pressure gauge

Testing the water pressure is good practice during irrigation assessments and maintenance. If the pressure is lower than 20 PSI, that could be an indicator of an unseen leak or a broken sprinkler head further down the line. Pop-up spray zones should operate between 20 and 30 PSI.

Catch cups

Catch cup tests are used to determine the operating efficiency of a zone. By running a test, we can determine two important measurements: Distribution Uniformity and Precipitation Rate. Together, these measurements can be used to calculate the optimal run time for each zone, which ensures the grass receives the right amount of water to thrive in Colorado’s climate.

Do you need an Irrigation Assessment done? Please contact Chris Marion to schedule an Irrigation Assessment for your community association.