What you need to know about irrigation systems
Smart Irrigation Controllers
Smart irrigation controllers can save business up to 10-15% on an already efficient irrigation schedule. These extra water savings are possible as smart controllers automatically adjust irrigation watering based on local weather conditions. Rather than just turning the system on for the Dry and off for the Wet smart controllers also reduce irrigation over the shoulder seasons, they can even delay irrigation events if rain is forecast or reduce the amount if there is continual high humidity for example.
What's more, this automated process saves even more money through reduced labour costs involved with seasonally adjusting irrigation. This is particularly useful in the Top End where we can receive significant rainfall in the shoulder periods, between the Wet and the Dry.
Other additional smart controller benefits;
They can be linked to a flow meter which can send alerts or turn off irrigation if a leak or broken pipe is recorded.
They can let you know if there are wiring issues or if solenoids are not working.
They can be controlled remotely by a tablet or smart phone from anywhere.
They provide easy to read water usage and irrigation run times.
It will also calculate how much water you have saved through altered schedules.
Make sure your sprinklers are pointed in the right direct and inspect your irrigation lines for faults and issues
Do you know what your irrigation is doing when you are not at home? If your irrigation system is programmed to come on at night or while you're not at home, you may never discover that our sprinklers are watering the concrete or that you have leaks and broken or blocked sprinklers and pipes. It's a good idea to check irrigation zones once a month for any faulty pipes, sprinklers or leaks.
Inspect your irrigation lines for faults and issues
Irrigation zones should be checked once a month for any faulty pipes, sprinklers or leaks. If they are programmed to come on at night, you may never discover you have leaks, or broken or blocked sprinklers and pipes.
Check your irrigation controller program
Programming multiple start times into your controller is a big trap. Many people program multiple start times, assuming that they are entering separate start times for each irrigation zone. What they are actually doing is telling the controller to run through an irrigation schedule multiple times on the days it is programmed to come on. Seek advice, check your manual or download a new one if you are unsure. Tip: do a search on 'how to program my irrigation controller' on YouTube.
Utilise pressure management
Irrigation zones without pressure management have the capacity to flow at 30-60L/minute. However, an irrigation line with 30 natives and 4L/hour drippers only needs about 2L/minute! If pressure regulators are not installed, drippers and connectors have to hold back the surplus flow and have a much higher risk to leak. And when they do spring a leak, it is likely to be much larger too!
Another component of pressure management is to use pressure-regulating drippers. These drippers cost a few cents more each to buy but they ensure that drippers emit the water they are rated to. If pressure is not managed correctly, a 4L/hour dripper can emit up to 20L/hour. Multiply this over-watering by 30 drippers and 500L/hour can be wasted. Look for PC (pressure compensating) written somewhere on your drippers.
Do you know the flow rate of your drippers?
They can vary from 2-120L/hour so if you don’t, it may be worth replacing them with 4L/hour pressure compensating drippers. That way you will know how much water you’re putting on and be able to use our irrigation scheduler.
Shade your tap mounted irrigation controllers
Put a bucket over exposed tap mounted controllers to shade them. They will last much longer when they are protected from the sun.
Draw a mud map of your garden
Keep it in a safe place – if you have a wall mounted irrigation controller, store it there. That way you will be able to check where your buried dripper lines are in future.
What to look for in a good irrigation controller
There are so many different irrigation controllers out there that it can be confusing choosing the best one for your situation.
- Consider installing a smart irrigation controller - they will do all the work for you!
- Decide if you want to have a wall mounted multiple station irrigation controller or a tap mounted timer. If you only have one or two drippers or sprinkler zones a tap mounted controller should be fine, but if you have many more a wall mounted controller that can run multiple lines may be better.
- Make sure you keep the manual and irrigation schedule card. Irrigation controllers can be confusing and any error when you are programming can cost you lots of water, money and plants. We have a number of popular manuals listed below.
Irrigation controller manuals
We know how easy it is to lose manuals and that residents often ‘inherit’ an automatic irrigation system when moving into a new house. We have compiled the following list of commonly encountered irrigation controllers.