Thursday, June 20, 2013

Too much of one, not enough of the other: two videos!

I recently produced two videos for Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (U.C.U.). These short works showcase two of the more noteworthy qualities of urban landscape irrigation systems in Miami-Dade County: the prevalence of hydro-indexing valves and the scant use of proper backflow prevention assemblies.  

From left: indexing valve and pressure vacuum breaker
The spinning menace

The bane of best water management practices everywhere, the indexing valve is a mechanical means of distributing water to the zones in a system.
All guts, no glory: the indexing valve's inner workings
To do this, it only requires (a.) that the system turn on and off to advance from zone to zone using water pressure, and (b.) that the user abandon all hope of programming system zones independently, or, if hydro-zoned, based on plant water-need. Setting all zones to water for the same amount of time regardless of zone plant-type or sprinkler head-type is a recipe for water-waste and inefficiency. 

More and more, every day…
Nearly 70% of the residential properties the U.C.U. visits throughout Miami-Dade have systems with indexing valves! Why? Our best leads indicate cost-effectiveness. A high-voltage mechanical system is ideal for the well-water irrigation popular in Miami-Dade, and slightly less expensive than installing a digital system to run a pump.  

From right: 220V moves from the house to the timer to the pump
Further, even on potable properties ideal for digital systems, contractors offer mechanical installations, combining a low-voltage solenoid valve and indexing valve, at a rate that most homeowners/developers/property managers can’t refuse.
From left: 24V master valve, indexing valve and timer on wall
So is the indexing valve merely a victim of regional frugality? Watch as we build a case and throw the book at this enemy of efficiency here or below.

Put a backflow on it!

From left: U.C.U.'s Jesus Lomeli and an anti-siphon valve
Watering efficiently is one thing, watering dangerously is quite another. A potable irrigation system without a proper backflow prevention assembly can endanger not only the potable water lines on the property where it’s located, but also those of the surrounding community.

A pressure vacuum breaker fully exposed!
On our jaunts across the county, the U.C.U. encounters so many potable irrigation systems with poor or no backflow prevention that we decided to seek expert advice about these devices and share this insight with the greater public. View the video here or below.

The envelope, please.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the recent honor bestowed on the efforts of Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit. Earlier this week Audubon Florida selected Miami-Dade County for its 2013 Excellence in Water Conservation Award.
Since 2007, conservation initiatives like the U.C.U. have helped reduce per capita per day consumption in Miami-Dade from 158 to 134 gallons. As a Water and Sewer program that promotes water-use efficiency daily in the streets, regularly through tabling events and presenting at venues, and 24/7 on the interwebs with video and social media, our contribution to the county's recognition is undeniable.

If you’ve met us in person, you already know! If you haven’t, check the last paragraph on the following press release. Big ups, U.C.U.!

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