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There are many factors to take into consideration when setting up an irrigation system for your garden. An often missed but key characteristic of any effective watering system is having optimal pressure available for each sprinkler. Why spend time and money on an irrigation system with a non-uniform spray pattern and inconsistent water placement? A well pressure-regulated irrigation system will mean your sprinklers will spray consistently and evenly, while placing water in the desired areas, reducing wastage and saving you money.
Image 1 is pop-up spray operating at its optimal pressure. The spray pattern is clean and consistent, allowing for water to land precisely where it is intended.
Image 2 shows the same pop-up spray operating at a higher pressure. The excessive pressure results in the misting effect as seen in the image. This causes inconsistent water placement leading to water wastage and dry patches in your lawn. Higher water pressure also means more water used.
All nozzles be it fan spray, gear drive, low flow rotary or impact nozzles have a nozzle chart which shows you of the amount of water used per minute for various pressure levels. As the pressure increases the amount of water used increases as well. While it may not seem like a big difference on the chart, the actual difference is enormous!
To illustrate: the difference: This test was done by Hunter Industries using a 15 foot half circle fixed spray nozzle.
A difference of just 70kPa uses close to 70,000L of water more per year!
There are a number of ways to go about regulating the pressure of your system. If your systems pressure is well above 600 or 700 kPa, install a system-wide pressure regulator at the point of connection to reduce the pressure down to 150 kPa above the needs of the largest zone.
Once your main-line is operating at a suitable pressure level the next step is to regulate the pressure of your sprinklers specific to each zone. For smaller zones this can be achieved by installing a pressure regulation device at the valve. For larger zones, pressure can be regulated at the sprinkler by installing a pressure regulated spray body. For micro irrigation that requires lower pressure an excellent option is to install a drip zone watering kit consisting of a valve, filter and pressure regulator.
Recommended to be used with fan spray nozzles.
Recommended to be used with low flow rotary nozzles.
Recommended to for larger zones, turf and lawns.
Recommended to connect these at the solenoid valve for pressure regulation of smaller zones.
Recommended for drip irrigation systems.