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Irrigation and Irrigation Systems

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Irrigation systems are one way to help you keep your landscape looking pristine while helping you conserve water. With an irrigation system you can provide balance and consistency to watering your lawn. You will be able to put water where you need it most to get the best out of your landscape.

How do Irrigation Systems work?

A sprinkler system distributes water through a system of pipes usually by pumping. At this time, spray heads will spray water into the air to irrigate entire soil surfaces. This causes the water to break up into small water drops which fall to the ground. Sprinkler systems are reliable to many types of yards and properties from large to small. They are also adaptable to almost all irrigable soils since the spouts are adjustable for water distribution.

What types of Irrigation Systems are there?

  • Flood
    • Water is pumped or brought to the fields and is allowed to flow along the ground among the crops.
  • Drip Irrigation
    • Drip Irrigation sends water through plastic pipes with holes in them. They are placed among the crops or buried under the surface to distribute water.
  • Spray Irrigation
    • Spray Irrigation systems have a long tube fixed at one end to the water source, such as a well. Next, water flows through the tube and is shot out by a system of spray-guns onto your landscape or vegetation.
  • Better Spray irrigation
    • By use of traditional spray irrigation, water is shot through the air onto fields.  Likewise, another spray method is a gentle spray, where water is gently sprayed from a hanging pipe.

What types of Timers are there?

  • Weather-based controllers
    • Weather-based controllers, also referred to as evapotranspiration (ET) controllers, use local weather data to adjust irrigation schedules. Evapotranspiration is the combination of evaporation from the soil surface and transpiration by plant materials.
    • The best ET weather data uses four weather parameters: temperature, wind, solar radiation and humidity. It’s the most accurate way to calculate landscape water needs.
  • Soil moisture sensor-based controllers
    •  When buried in the root zone, the sensors accurately determine the moisture level in the soil, which is a direct result of evapotranspiration, and transmit this reading to the controller.

What is the required maintenance?

At a minimum, you should check of the irrigation system performance twice a season. As an You should check the system once at the beginning of the season when the system is first turned on and again halfway through the season.

The basics of irrigation maintenance are:

  • Inspect the controller and make sure it’s plugged in and functioning
  • Update the time and date
  • Check the connection on all of the wires – make sure that rain, wind, or soil moisture sensors are connected
  • Replace the back-up battery
  • Change the schedule to reflect the current season and irrigation needs of the landscape
  • Turn on each zone and look for system damage

Irrigation Backflow Preventer 

By definition a backflow preventer is a device that allows water to go through it in one direction, but prevents it from going backwards in the opposite direction. Backflow preventers keep unsafe water from reversing flow and entering the clean water supply. As a result, the preventers are required by law, Missouri DNR maintains a  list of certified testers for your backflow prevention devices.  Make sure to select “Boone” as your county to view for hire contractors in your area.

Why is testing required?

Backflow prevention devices are required by a City of Columbia ordinance (Chapter 27, section 57) to protect the health of water customers with irrigation systems. Problems can arise with any mechanical device from wear and tear, so annual testing helps keep people safe. Accordingly, certified testers will annually test the device, because properly calibrated gauge equipment is the only way of making sure there is no contamination. However, you should also check the system throughout the year to make sure no visible problems arise.

Where do I send the testing certification?

Send your certified backflow preventer device testing results to: backflowtestreports@como.gov 

or mail to:

Columbia Water & Light Water

Services Superintendent

P.O. Box 6015

Columbia, MO 65205

Irrigation Contractors

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