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Services - Irrigation

Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor

A Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor is licensed by the state to perform analysis of landscape irrigation water usage. Auditors collect the irrigation site data, make maintenance recommendations / repairs as necessary and perform detailed water audits. Through analytical analysis at the site, he will develop irrigation schedules and make system changes in design and or repair which will implement an efficient irrigation system.

Overview of the Audit

The purpose of the audit is to determine that the irrigation systems performance in regard to water usage and application rate is efficient and timely. Without knowing application rates for a system, it is impossible to know whether the right amount of water is being applied. One application of irrigation should supply only the water adequate to refill the root zone of the plants, anything in addition to this root zone amount is considered wasted water. Pooling and run off of water are symptoms of an inefficient irrigation system.

A drawing of irrigation zones with the type of components installed system is essential to determine the application rates for each zone. A certified landscape irrigation auditor will perform an inspection of the irrigation system to obtain this information as a preliminary start to the audit.

Irrigation Audits & Assessments

Efficient irrigation is achieved when the vast majority of water applied to landscapes by irrigation systems is actually used by the plants and only when necessary. The return (ROI) on your Capital cost invested in an audit and assessment can be realized in less than one year on a poorly maintained and inefficient irrigation system.

The audits result will be
  • Reduced water use and fewer dollars spent on water;
  • Reduction of wasted water due to runoff and pooling and evaporation;
  • Reduction of water lost below the root zone of the plants (deep percolation);
  • Improved landscape appearance - fewer wet or dry spots;
  • Reduced fertilizer and chemical requirements.
Efficient system performance means that the water is applied as uniformly and as evenly as possible. It is the direct result of proper design, installation, operation, and maintenance of the system. Any system deficiencies must be corrected before implementing the audit protocols.

An audit consists of completing a series of field procedures defined by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for collecting and compiling irrigation system data. Basically the system is reviewed zone by zone and collection basins are used to "catch" water intended for plants over a specified period of time. Factors such as soil composition, wind influence, spray head type, water pressure and plants types are included in the test protocols. The auditor will analyze this data to accurately evaluate various performance characteristics such as distribution uniformity and precipitation rates, as well as site specific data like plant species type and possible micro-climate factors.

The recommended watering schedule resulting from an audit is based on the results of field tests and inspection, distribution uniformity and precipitation rate, soil intake rate, evapotranspiration (ET), root zone depth, and soil-water intake rates and holding characteristics. The schedule must be able to function within the limits and capabilities of the controller, or timer, used to operate the system and the system must be able to evenly and accurately deliver only the required water lost to ET. Advances in Controller design now incorporate real-time measurements of the environment, such as weather and soil changes.

There is a direct correlation between an audited irrigation system with acceptable performance efficiency and how proper scheduling can impact water consumption.

This emphasizes the importance of proper system performance and how the frequency of operation must regularly change to deliver only the water lost to ET, and not simply an unknown arbitrary static amount each time which is how the vast majority of systems without the benefit of weather sensing controllers are set. Irrigation controller schedules must be modified to reflect changes in the weather, which change the plant's need for water. Weather sensing "Smart Controllers" should be installed when ever possible. The landscape irrigation system must address these considerations to deliver an efficient system of water usage and responsible conservation.