The solution to our water problems is not to just turn off the faucet. IN fact this approach can have many unintended consequences. Healthy landscapes control dust, noise and other annoyances of modern urban living. They are increasingly being recognized as valuable aids in mitigating climate change and believe it or not alleviating the drought cycle. (see our blog)
Why do an audit? Besides the aforementioned reasons you can add the same reason business has an accounting system and you balance your banking statement. Irrigation system are operated in an outdoor environment and things change. While not as complicated as a car a irrigation system has many integrated systems and many moving parts, things break or wear out. Take a spray nozzle that has a 5% change in performance multiple that by 50 nozzles operated for 25 minutes ever third day over a 3 month period. Now if your a city a school district or a property manager multiply that by the number of sites under your supervision. That's money you could spend on something else and water that could be use for other purposes. In investing this is known as the best alternative use of resources.
An irrigation audit is a systematic examination of your entire irrigation operating system. Just like a financial audit it is a necessary and time consuming process to maximum utilization of your system, to reduce your operating cost and preserve our most precious resource.
Irrigation systems operate in a dynamic environment. Over time, even the most efficiently professionally designed irrigation system will begin to break down. After the installation comes the maintenance and upkeep. Sadly in California unlike plumbing there are no rules or laws regarding the qualifications or training of a "Irrigation Technician". Yet all the same rules of a hydraulics system apply. Go figure.
Plants grow and interferes with sprinklers operation. Lawns are designed for usage: sprinklers get stepped on, soil get compacted and the grass and soil build up. Communities grow and water pressure changes meaning that the system is most likely not operating at designed pressures. In the absence of a striengent maintenance program, minor operation and performance problems can continue for months resulting in wasted resources and money.
An audit is just one more tool to address pressing issues of budgets and limited resources. It provides you one more valuable aid in professional development and peer communication within and across your organization. It provides scientifically based metrics which allows for effective decision-making in maintaining fiscal discipline and delivering essential information to guide policy and programmatic decisions.
A good audit is not just about the irrigation system. It is also concerned with the plant material, soil type and structure and the topography of the site. These variables all determine the effectiveness of the system. After all the irrigation system is an adjunct to help us have a healthy landscape.
There are several types of audits depending on how deep of an analysis you are seeking.
Let's talk CTA.