The Happy Gardener

The Newsletter Serving Residential Farmers of the world wide web



Restrict a Little - Save a Lot

- Part 1 -


During all the testing for my Water Management Program, I realized that run-off was the biggest source of water waste. It also occurred to me that every sprinkler on the market caused too much runoff. The problem with sprinklers in general, I thought, was that the nozzles had too much water running through them, more water than the plants could possibly use; thus causing the excess water to runoff into the streets. Also, at such high pressures, the water coming out of the nozzles produced a "fog-like" effect. This meant that a percentage of the water coming out of the nozzles was evaporated into the air and the wind kept the water vapor from hitting its targeted area. More wasted water!

I concluded that if the amount water that flowed from the sprinklers could be restricted, then fogging and actual runoff off time would also be reduced. There had to be a way to do that without affecting the actual water coverage that the plants needed. It also had to be done at a low cost to encourage its use.

I invented a unique way to use ordinary plastic washers (shower/water restrictors) so that they allowed irrigation sprinklers to use less water. Homeowners were accustomed to using washers inside the home, so why not use them outside as well? I bought some washers that were designed to fit into shower nozzles, and installed them into the bottom of shrub adapters and began testing. I determined the diameter of the hole sizes that worked most effectively and how much water came out of them and at what rates it flowed. I modified the diameter of the hole sizes of two plastic washers and installed them onto the bottom of a shrub adapter; thus restricting the amount of water that flowed from the sprinkler.

Would the restricter allow enough water to come out? Absolutely. Would it be necessary to water for a longer period of time? No. The amount of water we needed to restrict was small enough to begin with that it had little to no affect on the watering time but it did make a difference in reducing the time of run-off. I was satisfied that runoff was the only thing that we were restricting.

We named these specially modified devices, WaterSavers. We made them in two different sizes and color coded them. The green ones were designed for one-quarter circle, one-third circle, and one-half circle diameter nozzles; and the black ones were designed for three-quarter circle, and full circle diameter nozzles. Each WaterSaver came with a filter that fit into the riser to protect it from getting clogged with debris. This also helped to cut down on their maintenance.

Where could we use these restriction devices, these WaterSavers, be used to their fullest capacity? After some more testing I realized that these washers just weren't going to fit into regular lawn pop-ups. But they DID fit into the bottom of any common shrub adapter as long as it fit onto a half inch riser.

'Better Care Through Integrated Pest Management'


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