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How to Prevent Runoff

Water Wise Now on Sprinklers & Sprinkler Systems

Posted on April 01, 2015. 0 Comments

A new executive order issued April 1, 2015 requires all Californians to save more water. Conservation goals of 25% may seem steep, but since we have a habit of wasting water, the goal is achievable without heroic measures.

The single-most water-wasting irrigation practice is “creating runoff.” Our free eBook will help you stop overwatering and creating runoff. Here is an overview of what's inside.

What is runoff?

Runoff is potable water that is wasted due to inefficient irrigation practices. This water is wasted by hitting our sidewalks, driveways and streets while our sprinklers are watering our yards. It is also created by watering when it’s windy out and watering with too much pressure in your system.

Runoff Public Enemy #1
Low Head Drainage

When watering any area with an elevation change (even as little as one foot), all of the leftover water in your underground pipes drains out through the lowest sprinkler head(s) on the line—every time you water.

Low-head Drainage is the leading cause of urban runoff... after overwatering.

How to Stop It: There are special sprinkler bodies you can buy that prevent water from flooding out of the sprinkler when the system turns off. They contain a check valve which prevents the water from coming out.

Seal-a-Matic Sprinklers with check-valves reduce runoffMeet SAM. SAM stops runoff when sprinklers are at different elevations. This is an issue anywhere on a property where there are sprinklers at the bottom of hills, and even on gentle slopes. SAM stands for seal-a-matic and that's one on the left.

Sprinklers with check-valves reduce runoff

SAM is made by America’s most trusted irrigation manufacturer, Rain Bird, but you won’t find these SAM sprinklers at your local big-box store because they are only distributed to professionals. We’re selling them directly to homeowners like you because SAM stops this type of runoff in the landscape.

After you diagnose which sprinklers are the lowest on the line, you'll need SAM's help. For $3-12 each, depending on the size of the sprinkler you’re replacing, you can quickly eliminate the runoff caused by low head drainage.


Runoff Public Enemy #2
Inefficient Sprinkler Nozzles

Inefficient sprinkler nozzles apply water too quickly for it to absorb into the soil. It pools up and goes right down to the street instead of nourishing your plants.

Hunter MP Rotators Reduce Water Usage by 30%

How to Stop It: By switching out your conventional sprinkler nozzles with rotary nozzles like Hunter MP Rotators, you can slow your water application rate by 75% and save 30% of water that would have been lost to runoff.

The physical work of replacing sprinkler nozzles is easy. It’s just a matter of unscrewing the existing nozzle and replacing it with the new one.* After the new nozzles are in place, you’ll turn on your irrigation system and manually adjust the radius and spray arc for each one with a free, easy-to-use tool we’ll send along with your order.

* These nozzles require a properly pressurized irrigation system.

Most irrigation-based water conservation projects begin with proper pressure regulation. We go over your best choices for regulating pressure at your house in our eBook.


Runoff Public Enemy #3
Watering Too Fast

Clay soils, compacted lawns, and slopes require a special watering cycle.

Runoff is usually caused by overwatering. Sometimes we think we’re watering the right amount, but we’re still creating runoff. This often happens because of special conditions that prevent all of the water we’re using from getting absorbed into the soil.

How to Stop It: Modify your watering schedule to employ the Cycle-Soak method. The Cycle-Soak method breaks up single, longer watering periods into several smaller periods, spaced out to allow water to absorb into the soil before you apply more. By allowing the water to infiltrate into the soil at the appropriate rate, you minimize runoff.


Before you go...

The drought has created a sense of uncertainty for some of us. There are changes that need to happen, but these changes need not be a sacrifice. Think of it as an opportunity for us to take a look at this limited, vital resource and learn how to use it in a more sustainable way. By doing this, we can create a better quality of life for ourselves and our communities.

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