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Irrigation & The Water Supply in South Florida: How Rain Sensors Can Reduce Waste and Save You Money

On April 15th, 2019

How Rain Sensors Can Reduce Waste and Save You Money

It’s official!  Spring is here and with it comes an abundance of rain.  With the frequent downpours we experience, it’s hard to believe that we are actually facing some dire challenges here in South Florida. When it rains, water percolates down through the soil where it is stored in a layer of porous limestone rock.  This layer underlies the entire state and is known as the Florida Aquifer System.  https://fldep.dep.state.fl.us/swapp/Aquifer.asp  It is the major source of ground water supply to Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Town of Gulfstream, and Boynton Beach in South Florida.

South Florida continues to see a rise in tourism, which is good news for our economy.  Unfortunately, with the influx of consumers comes a strain on our natural resources.  When too much water is pumped from the ground, the level of water that flows freely through the Florida Aquifer System is reduced.  This system relies on pressure to maintain the flow of water through the system as source to the state’s hundreds of springs.  If the ground level of water is reduced too far, the pressure weakens because pore spaces are compressed when devoid of water.  In this scenario, water holding capacities are permanently reduced within the aquifer.   In an interview about the state of water availability in Florida, Robert Knight, founder of the Florida Springs Institute, in High Springs, FL stated, “Water flow is the lifeblood of the springs, so when you reduce their flow, they start getting sick.”  The truth is that our aquifer is getting sick.  https://www.constructiondive.com/news/is-development-draining-the-fl-aquifer-system-beyond-repair/448474/

You may be wondering how this affects you and how you can help to save water.  The biggest waste of water in South Florida is mismanaged irrigation systems.  Problems include antiquated “zone change valves” or indexing valves, irresponsible installers that chose not to utilize rain sensors, and the landscaper’s mentality of setting the system for 30 minutes regardless of plant or soil type, sun exposure, and season.  https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/splsenssprnk.pdf  As Certified Irrigation Contractors in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Town of Gulfstream, and Boynton Beach, we witness these issues on a daily basis.  We are professionals with families and small children, which drives our intense desire to protect our environment for future generations.  You can be sure that Beacon Irrigation & Lighting will properly manage every drop of water and waste nothing.

Rain gauges or sensors are the first and easiest line of defense against indiscriminate water waste.  Rain sensors not only work to reduce waste, they save you money of your city water bill.  Everybody wins!  There are various types of rain sensors/gauges available and our trained technicians are happy to assist you in weighing the pros and cons of each, along with pricing options.  See the link below for a simple how-to on installing your own rain sensor if you are the DIY type.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx6zGNPApEc

After you have identified the rain sensor of your choice, one of our trained technicians will walk your property with you to identify any areas where there is low head drainage, overspray onto paved areas, and any leaks or breaks in piping or heads.  The technician will assess for faulty zone change valves that may need to be replaced.  https://www.thespruce.com/replacing-a-sprinkler-valve-2718921.   Technicians at Beacon Irrigation and Lighting, Inc. can provide information on zone change valves, indexing valves, and electric valve conversion to help stop wasting water and to start saving you money.  Finally, your technician will set your digital controller to water your landscape based on the season, plant and soil type, and sun exposure utilizing the appropriate irrigation scheduling formula.

It may be tempting to simply employ your landscaper to install your irrigation.  After all, the landscaper’s goal is to keep your plants alive which is a good thing, right?  The problem is that misled goal simply means using as much water as possible, a strategy that results in devastating consequences for your groundwater supply in South Florida.  Using excessive amounts of water is actually to opposite of what promotes plant health and overwatering can lead to sick plants.  Watering at the first sign of stress, or just before this period occurs, is the best way to encourage root growth and therefore a healthy lawn/plant.  (See our previous post on the importance of hiring the right irrigation contractor https://beaconirrigation.com/blog/licensed-insured-hiring-the-right-irrigation-contractor/)

We are certified irrigation contractors in the state of Florida and we care about water conservation.  Our passion is what makes us good!