Irrigation Audits: What You Need to Know

Grass With Dew Drops

Irrigation audits are a popular thing for Colorado HOAs to do – and for good reason.

This blog describes what an irrigation audit is, who provides them, and why you may or may not need one for your HOA.

Lately, many Colorado HOAs have been considering irrigation audits for their properties. They may be doing so because of high water bills, because they are interested in water conservation for environmental sustainability purposes, or both of these reasons. An irrigation audit is when a landscaping professional takes a comprehensive look at a property’s irrigation system to check for leaks, bad connections, broken nozzles, and opportunities for improvement. These audits could be done by landscaping companies (usually for a charge) or by governmental or quasi-governmental agencies, such as Denver Water or Aurora Water (usually free of charge or at least partially free).

Let’s look at Denver Water and how they operate their audits. First they determine if the HOA which has applied for an audit truly needs one. Because there are so many HOAs and other residential developments in the greater Denver area, this helps Denver Water make the best use of their time. To be considered a top candidate for an audit, the HOA should be using greater than 18 gallons of water per square foot of irrigated landscaping each year. That is a lot of water! If a HOA is using 30 gallons per square foot, then they should definitely have an audit done to see where there system is broken and how they can reduce their outdoor water use. If your HOA uses 5 gallons per square foot, then things are probably going well. The number is calculated by subtracting the amount of indoor use from total water use and dividing the total number of remaining gallons by the total square footage of irrigable land.

After the irrigation audit is complete, the leaders of the HOA will typically receive some kind of report of findings. This will usually show charts or other graphics explaining use trends and areas with opportunity for improvement. Such improvements could include replacing old or damaged nozzles or heads with new, high-efficiency models (which rebates are usually available for), repairing disconnects in the system, other physical repairs, and the installation of rain sensors so you are not watering when the skies are doing that for you.

Of course, they best way to reduce water use on landscaping is to replace thirsty blue grass with xeric landscaping and/or native plants. To learn more about irrigation audits and water conservation in general, reach out to CAP Management at 303.832.2971 or CAP Management. Also feel free to visit our CAP on Facebook to connect. Thanks for reading!