03.18.14Alan Harris

5 Steps to Get Smart: Fix a Leak this Week

2 Broken Heads via @IMSh2o
Just say NO to water waste. Fix a Leak (or two or three)

Photo Courtesy of Scott Thompson

March 17 – 23 is the official EPA WaterSense Fix a Leak Week. Coincidentally, this week Richard Restuccia and I are presenting to 50 Green Knights, who are the champions of sustainability for CBRE. Last week Richard and I were discussing the presentation with Lisa Colicchio, Director of Operations, Sustainability for CBRE. The main topic of our presentation is improving water conservation through technology. However, before we go all smart controller and flow meter on the group, we will remind the Green Knights to start with simple irrigation leak repairs.

1: Repair Irrigation Leaks

Irrigation leaks waste water fast. A single broken irrigation head can send 800+ gallons a month down the gutter. My field day in 2013 was spent as an irrigation tech. I was amazed at how many heads were broken on a retail site. Of course irrigation heads and car bumpers don’t mix well and the bumper always wins.

2: Only Water the Landscape

If someone was pushing you with 30 – 50 psi several times a week you might get a little twisted. Make sure the irrigation heads are watering the landscape and not pavement.

3: What’s in Your Contract?

Most landscape maintenance contracts (at a maximum) only call for monthly “inspections” with weekly “checks” of the irrigation system. Often the number of “wet checks” where the entire system is inspected while running is limited to 2 or 3 times a year. In some markets the only “in contract” irrigation service is a spring startup and a fall shut down while in other markets irrigation is “as requested”.

4: Get Smart and Let’s Flow

Regardless of what is in your contract, every 30 days or even every 7 days is not often enough to ensure there is no water leaking from the irrigation system. Would you prefer to get an email or text message about leaks as they happen? Read this post on smart controllers and flow meters.

5: Follow the 3 Fix a Leak Tips from EPA WaterSense

  • An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing. NOTE: If the polar vortex wreaked havoc on municipal water mains in your city there is a better than average chance there will also be freeze damage to your irrigation system.
  • An irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • To ensure your irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with an irrigation partner who has passed a certification program focused on water efficiency.

Want to find more information about Fix a Leak Week? Click on the Google Search and then add your state, county or city and see what is happening in your community for Fix a Leak Week.

If you enjoyed reading about Fix a Leak Week quickly share it with a friend, check out my previous posts , follow me on Twitter @h2oMatters and check out water stories I am reading on Flipboard:



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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations and Regional Sales Leader for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.


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