Fix my Heads, Austin Tx — Sprinkler Repair

2011 Drought Sprinkler System Run Times by Justin Wilson

Summer 2011 Drought
Justin Wilson
American Irrigation Repair LLC

This year has been one of the driest summers in history. We have broken all kinds of records and the heat has been immense. Everything is drying out. How quickly the lawn dries out depends on the weather each specific day. During the week around the first of August between plant use and evaporation, the rate has been as high as .4” per day. That’s almost a half inch a day.

In order to keep a green lawn or living plants that water has to be replaced. This is where the issues can arise. Most folks don’t know how long it takes to apply .4” with their sprinklers. There are some complex formulas for calculating irrigation system distribution uniformity, and plant stress factors, but for the purpose of this write-up I am going to keep things simple.

Generally Rotor style sprinklers apply water at a rate of .4” per hour, and spray / mister type heads apply at a rate of 1.2” per hour. These are general terms and depend on the spacing and pressure and other variables. So in order to totally replace the water lost on a day such as 7/28/2011 you would need to run your system one hour on rotor style heads, and 20 minutes on sprays / mister style heads… EVERY DAY! WOW!

The average residential sprinkler zone uses approx. 14-18 gallons per minute that the zone runs. So let’s run some numbers…
If you have a 10 zone system, four of which are sprayers and six of which are rotor style heads here is how your water bill would break down to keep a totally replenished yard in this drought…

6 zones (rotor style) x 60 minutes each(.4” application) = 360 minutes of run time
4 zones(spray style) x 20 minutes each(.4” application) = 80 minutes of run time

Total run time of 440 minutes would use between 6160 and 7920 gallons of water… FOR ONE DAY. So watering like this every day would yield a monthly water use age of between 184,800 and 237,600 just for the sprinklers in the lawn. This translates to a water bill for the Irrigation of between $1288 and $1659 to have a zero stress lawn on an average residential system of ten zones. This assumes a top tier rate of $7.00 per 1,000 gallons. Yours may be slightly higher or lower.

Generally no one wants to spend that on their water bill, and we wouldn’t want to risk running out of water in a drought. We have to find a happy medium. Generally speaking watering to get to ½” is your best bet. I do not recommend short run times under at least ½” as the irrigation cycle will dry out before the plants / turf is able to use the water. This correlates to approx. 75 minutes on rotors style heads and 25-30 on spray type heads. Water this as often as your water district or budget allows. Additionally we have found that watering in the evening allows the plants and turf to sit cool and they respond well to this. It is important to remember watering in the evening is not recommended in the fall / winter.

Nearly daily in the drought we get the question of why if the sprinklers are working correctly are their green splotchy areas and then dry areas in the yard. Folks assume the system is not working efficiently when they see this. If we have checked your system and reported that your system is operating correctly other factors may be the cause.

Irrigation is not like rain. It does not apply water nice and even. There are inherent inefficiencies which is called distribution uniformity. Most sprinklers at their maximum run about 65% uniformity which is not very good. This means some areas get less, some get more and if your lawn is not getting enough water as a whole, the areas that are getting more often times will be green. Those are the over watered areas in that efficiency spectrum. Add those issues to things like poor soil conditions such as rock, gravel, base, compaction and there is a huge range of what the lawn will look like as it starts to dry out. Some areas dry quicker, some slower and good soil will hold the water longer than rocky. The only solution to this is to slightly overwater some areas to get water to the less efficient areas.

No lawn when irrigated to a certain level of stress will dry to a completely uniform level. Under-irrigating will always show itself as splotchy dry and green areas.

I hope this information will be of use to you and that you will continue to trust us with your business in the future.

Justin Wilson


Pflugerville water restrictions by Justin Wilson
July 30, 2011, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Pflugerville water restrictions

This is Pflugerville’s watering restrictions. This information was obtained from the City of Pflugerville’s website. Please follow this to help conserve.

Mandatory Water Restrictions
Stage Two Water Rationing Restrictions

Under Stage Two water rationing, these restrictions are mandatory for all water customers:

• Limit watering landscaped areas to a twice-a-week watering schedule (below).

Twice-a-Week Watering Schedule:

• For residential customers with a last digit of their street address ending in an odd number, their water days are Wednesdays and Saturdays.

• For residential customers with a last digit of their street address ending in an even number, their water days are Thursday and Sundays.

• Commercial customers can water on Tuesdays and Fridays.

For all customers:

• Watering is allowed before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on your designated watering day.

• For those with automatic sprinkler systems: Set your system to start just after midnight on your day to water. This helps avoid using the system during peak hours of 6 am to 10 am.

• Limit outdoor watering to between midnight and 10 a.m. and between 7 p.m. to midnight on designated watering days. There are exceptions for new landscapes. During the first 10 days after installation, you may water once a day; for day 11 through 20, once every other day; and for day 21 through 30, once every third day.

• Do not wash motor vehicles, motorbikes, boats and other vehicles except during these hours on your designated watering days. Only use a bucket or hand-held hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle. (Exception: Commercial car washes, service stations and vehicles such as garbage trucks and those used to transport food and perishables.)

• Limit filling or refilling indoor or outdoor swimming pools, wading pools or Jacuzzi-type pools except on designated watering days and during designated watering hours.

• Don’t operate ornamental fountains or ponds unless it is necessary to support aquatic life or the ponds are equipped with a re-circulation system.

• Limit water use from hydrants to fire fighting and related activities. Exception is possible for construction purposes.

• Limit irrigation of golf course fairways to designated outdoor water use days and between hours of midnight and 10 a.m. and between 7 p.m. and midnight. Exception: Irrigation of golf course greens and tees is allowed every other day if a plan is filed and approved by LCRA. These restrictions don’t apply if the golf course uses an alternate water supply, such as reclaimed water, rainwater or gray water.

• Restaurants are urged to serve water to patrons only upon request.

• Do not wash down sidewalks, walkways, driveways and other hard-surfaced areas.

* Outdoor water is permitted at any time if it is by means of a hand-held hose, a faucet-filled bucket or a watering canof five gallons or less.

You can contact the City of Pflugerville to report any violations to the ordinance, including automatic or hose-end sprinklers that are watering on the wrong day, leaking, or creating runoff into the streets. Report violations to the City of Pflugerville by calling 512-251-4004.

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Implements Mandatory Water Restrictions

Due to continued drought conditions in Central Texas, LCRA has placed all of their water users, including the City of Pflugerville, under mandatory Stage Two water rationing restrictions.

The water that the City of Pflugerville pumps out of the Colorado River and into Lake Pflugerville actually starts in the Highland Lakes – Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls, Travis and Austin. During a time of drought, the water that is released from Buchanan and Travis does not replenish easily due to the lack of rain and runoff, therefore severely lowering the lake levels. Therefore, if the LCRA implements a water rationing program, all entities that receive water from the lower Colorado River are directly affected and have to implement the same program, including the City of Pflugerville.