New irrigation sprinkler regulations for the state of California were implemented January 2020, helping the state meet its water management and conservation goals. All new sprinklers must contain pressure regulators that restrict water flow as close as possible to manufacturer-recommended levels of 30 psi beginning this year, eliminating misting and overshooting, both of which waste water. Previously required only on new landscapes, now all existing systems must use sprinkler heads with pressure regulating technology.

Feeling the Pressure?  No need to update irrigation at this time

Don’t worry. There is no expiration date on the use of your current sprinkler heads. Manufacturers of sprinkler heads and their distributing retailers are allowed to sell out existing stock, which should dissipate within the year. Over this time, manufacturers will ramp up production of the new water-saving heads to meet demand. As with incandescent light bulbs, which were phased out in favor of LEDs, the new, water-saving components will fill up store shelves.

Significant Water Savings can be achieved

Nearly half of California’s drinking water is used outdoors, mainly for irrigation of lawns and gardens . The new sprinklers are estimated to save more than 400 million gallons of water per day, enough savings to meet the water needs of the city of San Diego for 10 years.

The cost of this water-saving technology will raise the price of your sprinkler heads about $3, however, it will lower your water costs significantly, quickly absorbing your upgrade expenses. The National Resources Defense Council expects that water savings in the first year will easily outweigh your investment, providing significant savings over the life of the product.

A Closer Look at the Math

Under normal operation, pressure regulated sprinklers use about 20-25% less water than standard sprinklers. However, when a nozzle breaks, pressure regulators save 70% of water typically lost, making a huge difference.

Chad Sutton, Water Resource Manager at Gachina Landscape Management, explains, “At a city water pressure of 55psi, sprinklers without pressure regulation have a 20 gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate. With a pressure regulator, you could save 7.2 GPM.” He further explains, “In a zoned system with 15 heads, the savings would be 1.3 GPM per sprinkler head. Based on the average cost of water in the region, the extra $3 per head ($45 additional) could be recuperated in just nine months, delivering a fast return on investment.”

Save on Sprinkler Upgrades by Acting Now

Once water saving measures are mandatory, utility incentives typically dry up. If you act now, you can take advantage of existing rebates and incentives while they last. Each water district offers distinctive discounts. Many issue rebate checks or credit your bill $10 – 20 per sprinkler head for upgrading to more efficient options. Contact your local utility provider soon to learn more about available incentives. If suppliers cannot meet the demand for new sprinklers, inventory shortages and rising costs could also limit your ability to upgrade.

Help California preserve this precious resource and let’s save you some money as well. Learn more about installing pressure regulators to meet new irrigation sprinkler regulations. Contact Gachina Landscape Management at 866-283-5246 today.

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