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How do Water Restrictions affect my Irrigation Abilities?

Updated: Feb 8

If you're a resident of the Lower Mainland, you will likely be familiar with water restrictions which are implemented around the beginning of May. Keep this blog handy, as well as reference your local government material on the water restrictions when that time (seemingly) inevitably comes around.

Designing an irrigation system as a professional implies that it is designed with water

restrictions in mind (for those who are connected to city water at least). In recent years, there has not been a year that has passed without seeing the implementation of water restrictions. A key point to note is that water restrictions affect gardens and grass differently.

Stage One typically means that lawns are permitted to be watered once a week but no more. Garden and Veggie Garden zones are unnaffected.

Once Stage Two water restrictions are in place, you are not permitted to water grass except with a permit which is typically given out for new grass being planted; though you are able to water your gardens still.

In Stage Three, you are only able to water edible plants and not the rest of your garden plants. Therefore, there are three types of zones: grass, garden, and veggie garden. Each of these zones must be exclusively controlled to ensure the ability to water garden without watering grass, and veggie garden without watering other gardens.

With all of this in mind, designing a sprinkler system involves more than just covering the entire area of a yard with water by any means necessary. From a price standpoint, each additional zone will come at an additional cost due to needing individual valves, larger valve boxes, and lateral pipe extending to those zones. This means that reducing the total price of an irrigation system by reducing zones will come at the price of foregoing watering of gardens when restrictions are in place (if they are on the same zone as lawn). This runs the risk of plants dying which costs more to replace than simply planning an extra zone during installations. This is why we always recommend seperate zones, especially with the hotter summers as of late.

Finally, most modern timers are able to create multiple schedules, and one can be created to accommodate each different water restriction, allowing it to be switched to the new schedule once a water restriction is put in place rather than creating a new one each time. Water restrictions are an obstacle to be overcome for designing irrigation systems, but not one that is insurmountable. For older systems that are not designed with this in mind, it is always possible to upgrade them to be mindful of restrictions.

Be sure to consult local restriction guidelines typically found on government websites.

Jared Klassen

Irrigation Technician & Crew Supervisor at Torch Irrigation & Lighting

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