Tag: Conserve water

How to Deal with Water Shortages!

“Water Shortages Conserve Water!” is not a phrase I wanted to hear as this Summer season began.  Sure, I enjoy conserving water just as much as the next person, but it has been really depressing watching my once lush, green lawn begin to yellow and die under the rays of triple digit heat.


Due to low water yielding winter and spring seasons, many residents in northern Davis County, Utah are under mandatory and voluntary water restrictions. As Spring transitioned to Summer, these signs began to populate the local landscape.  Residents are restricted to watering each zone up to 30 minutes twice a week.  Are you experiencing this in your area too?

So, how do you keep your grass alive during conditions of drought and water restriction?  To keep with the spirit of Smart Irrigation Month, here are a few practices that will help your turf through tough some times.

  • Employ interval watering techniques
  • Use spot watering methods

Interval Watering

Interval watering is a great technique used to make your water stretch.  We may think it is wise to water our lawns as long as possible.  However, the soil can only absorb so much at a given time.  For example, “Clay can absorb 0.1 inches per hour” (clay intake rate).  Breaking a 30 minute watering cycle into two 15 minute watering cycles, one hour apart, will allow the soil to absorb more water.

Spot Watering


If secondary water is under restriction, you may be able to save areas or ‘spots’ in your yard by running culinary water through hose-end sprinklers.  These can be helpful to water specific areas of struggling turf.  You can even automate the process by using a manual or automatic timer.  However, remember that culinary water is drinking water so be careful not to over-use.


When faced with water shortages and restrictions, watering times may be cut back.  As your turf begins to suffer, weeds see it as an opportunity to move in.  To help get your grass back on track determine your soil type and implement interval and spot watering.  Follow these techniques and you will have a better chance of keeping your grass green.

Starting up your Sprinkler System

Did you know that starting your sprinkler system right can help you conserve water and save money?

Sounds complicated, you say.

Trust us, it simpler than you think.

Just start off with four simple steps.

When you turn you sprinkler system on for the first time this season:

1. Inspect and repair manifolds, valves, and sprinkler lines for any leaks.

2. Replace any broken sprinkler heads or nozzles.

3. Clear any debris interfering with sprinkler heads and nozzles.

4. Adjust sprinkler patterns to prevent watering sidewalks, streets, and driveways.

These steps, along with smart watering, can help you save up to 3,000 gallons of water per watering session. To learn more about how conserving water can help you save money, check out this post.

World Water Day 2013

Today marks the celebration of World Water Day, a day set apart by the United Nations to increase water awareness and promote sustainable management of freshwater resources. So, in honor of World Water Day, we’d like to share a few facts about water around the world.

World Water by Numbers

  • Water, energy, and food are intrinsically linked: water is needed to produce energy, energy is needed to deliver the water needed for food production [1]
  • In much of the world, water plays a role in gender inequality. Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water. That’s time spent they could have used for education or other work and family care! [2]
  • In 60% of European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used at a faster rate than it can be replenished [3]
  • About every 19 seconds, a mother loses a child due to a water related illness [4]
  • 1.8 billion people around the world still lack access to fresh water [5]
  • The average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water per day; in contrast, the average African family uses 5 gallons of water per day! [6]

For more about the world water crisis, check out this video produced by charity: water.

Whether it’s related to our personal hygiene, the food we eat, our yard and home care routine, the products we use, or the clothes we wear, water influences every aspect of our daily lives.

This year’s theme for World Water Day is cooperation. Here’s what the UN has to say about water cooperation:

“Water is a shared resource and its management need to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users. . . . Promoting water cooperation implies an interdisciplinary approach bringing in cultural, educational and scientific factors, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal, institutional and economic dimensions.”

Here at Orbit, much of our business revolves around water. We are dedicated to protecting and conserving this precious resource while helping homeowners around the world maintain beautiful landscapes. Please join us in using smart water management skills, heeding water regulations in your area, and doing your part to keep our water resources safe. You can visit our conservation resources pages on our website and on this blog.

We’re interested. Please share what you are doing to conserve water.

How Much do Automatic Sprinkler Systems Cost? Part III

smart flood sensor laying next to a leaf

Do you need certified backflow prevention to protect the municipal water supply?

Depending on your part of the company and the rules of your local water district, backflow prevention can a significant part of your system cost. Because protection of the municipal water supply from possible contamination through sprinkler systems is so important, the general trend is for communities to adopt codes that require a $300 or more in equipment, professional installation, and independent certification of the backflow device.  This can put backflow prevention out of the realm of the do-it-yourselfer and, for a small yard in a high cost part of the county, could mean that backflow prevention is as much as half of the cost of the entire sprinkler system. Of course, that is worse case. Many communities still allow less expensive types of backflow prevention that are well within a homeowner’s ability to install. Before you make any decisions on whether to install a sprinkler system yourself you should check with your water supplier to find out exactly what they require.

Do you need a pump or filter for the system?

If you are not taking your water from a municipal drinking water (“culinary”) source, then you will need to consider the costs and complications of pumps and filters. Since having the right amount of water available at the right pressure is the biggest key to a good sprinkler system, specifying and installing a pump and any associated filter is an area where you either need to be expert of make sure than you get expert advice. If not, you could end up needing a lot of extra time and expense to get your sprinkler system up and running right. The costs of the pump and filter will be very specific to your system.

Do you need PVC or poly pipe?

The costs of PVC pipe and polyethylene (“poly”) pipe systems are very different, so you need to be careful if you are comparing bids that don’t use the same type of pipe. The per foot cost of PVC pipe and fittings is less than half of poly pipe, so if a contractor were using the same design the material cost of poly would be significantly higher than PVC. However, many contractors use design and installation shortcuts with poly that significantly reduce materials and labor, so their total cost of poly may end up being lower than PVC. Orbit Sprinkler System Designer uses the exact same state-of-the-art design and installation for both PVC and Eco-Lock (a poly-based system), so the cost of the Eco-Lock system is higher when compared to PVC. But the small premium is well worth it when you consider Eco-Lock’s ease of use, performance and low impact on the environment compared with PVC.

Drip Irrigation Systems: The basics

orbit drip manifold

Ever walk by a house after the sprinklers are done irrigating and see the sidewalks wet with overspray?

How about seeing a small flower garden where a large area sprinkler head is not only watering its intended target, but everything around it (the fence, the rocks, the neighbor’s yard) as well?

These are just two examples of poor water conservation practices.

One way to help curb the use of water and drop it more accurately on the spots that require it is to use drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation is also known as micro-irrigation. It combines a low-volume of water and a low-pressure release of that water so that it is more accurate with its irrigation delivery mechanism.

Drip irrigation systems can easily be camouflaged under bark, mulch, or decorative rock; they can also be on top of the ground.

So, why consider drip irrigation systems? View the video below and read the tips that follow.

Conserve water:
Drip irrigation systems manage water. A sprinkler can often deliver too much water for the soil to hold and runoff can occur.

Water precisely:
Certain areas won’t be over- or under-watered because you can focus the water exactly where it is required for plant growth.

Curb diseases:
Fungus (and resulting diseased) are less likely to occur in soil that is not constantly saturated with water.

Reduce erosion:
A fast release of water will often be disruptive to soil. A slow drip, on the other hand, can help the moisture penetrate the ground in a same and non-disruptive manner.


Install easily:
Orbit drip irrigation systems are sold in kits and are available online and in many retail outlets. These kits make it easy to install yourself, and you can also use the drip components to customize your irrigation system.

Do you have a drip irrigation system installed?

What other benefits do you see to having a drip system installed in your yard, lawn, or garden area?
Please leave your comments below.