Friday, September 10, 2010

New WUEP research site added!

Last week, a new homeowner property was added to the pair-wise study.

Participating in Miami-Dade Extension’s Water-Use Efficiency program, this home featured a two-zone irrigation system on municipal water and mechanical at both the timer and zone level.

Retrofitting a mechanical irrigation system

Despite several heavy downpour interruptions, we set about retrofitting the irrigation system to meet the research project’s needs.

Back-flow prevention device already in place, we focused on replacing the indexing valve with electric valves. Although common in south Florida, the indexing valve is a restrictive and inefficient method for distributing water in landscape irrigation. Electric valves not only guarantee that a zone will fire during an irrigation program, but also allow for varying zone run times.

We then installed a water meter on each zone. The meters allow me to get accurate water-use data on the comparable zones – one controlled by the timer, the other controlled by the sensor.

We then replaced the mechanical timer with the soil moisture sensor system, and then buried the TDT sensor under turf in a sunny area within the parameters of the sensor-controlled zone.

We also addressed several leaks in the system, replacing several broken spray heads with new, more-efficient rotary heads. These sprinklers fire rotating streams that applying less water and resist wind better than spray heads.

Reflection: comparison study 2010

Barring any surprises, this was the final pair-wise research site installation for this year. From early April to September, we added 14 new homeowner research sites to the project.

Some insight into the nature of landscape irrigation in south Florida: of the 14 research sites that went online this year, 5 were simple add-on sensor/meter installations on pre-existing digital timer/electric valve systems, and 9 were complete mechanical to digital retrofits.

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing how many sites we are able to obtain with all of the unique obstacles that MDC irrigation systems throw at us! I hope you guys are proud of your accomplishments! Looking forward to a productive 2011~