Each day I become more aware how important it is to educate customers about proper water management. When customers understand the premises of water management, they value the benefits of certifications, case studies, and training a professional contractor provides through a team of expert water managers.
Trilogy at Glen Ivy is a development that understands the value of proper water management. It is located in the heart of Southern California’s Temescal Valley less than an hour from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Palm Springs. With its varied geography and spectacular views, this is one of the Inland Empire’s most beautiful, and best-located communities. The property also has an extensive irrigation system including 59 controllers and over 2,000 sprinkler valves which require knowledgeable onsite full-time irrigation technicians. The Temescal Valley averages less than 10 inches of rain a year, so proper irrigation management is essential.
Taking Water Management to the Next Level
Because of the community’s understanding of irrigation and advanced water management, Jonathan Caceres, ValleyCrest Irrigation and Water Manager for Trilogy, implemented advanced water management solutions. Jonathan worked closely with Ken Gibson, General Manager, from Merit Property Management and they went beyond the typical 10 easy ways to make your landscape more water efficient. Below are some of the more advanced strategies Jonathan implemented to reduce water use on the property.
Improved Filtration of Non-Potable Water
Due to poor water quality much of our irrigation technician’s time was spent unclogging nozzles that drastically reduced their efficiency of conducting preventative maintenance inspections. We replaced several thousand clogged spray nozzles with MPR nozzles.
Improve Irrigation Scheduling
Default settings for ET based controllers are set to provide turf with the full amount of water required to keep it in prime condition. In order to conserve water we reprogrammed the controllers to a stricter setting and monitor the quality of the turf for signs of stress. Most local water agencies set water allocations at about 85% of turf’s required water based on ET.
Due to significant elevation changes along Trilogy Parkway there are drastic changes in operating pressures. The optimum operating pressure for spray heads is 30 PSI. Pressure readings taken along Trilogy Parkway showed some areas to be as high as 90 PSI. When a spray head operates at this high pressure, the volume of water emitted by the spray head increases exponentially and the water is distributed with much less efficiency. The high pressure causes about 50% of the water emitted to drift off and evaporate. We recommended the installation of pressure regulators at various points along the mainline and will now evaluate whether there are individual valves remaining that require additional regulation.
Retrofit Turf Areas to California Friendly Landscapes
Turf conversions would not only save water, but also improve the aesthetics of the property. ValleyCrest landscape designers provided several options of drought tolerant plant solutions with year round color and drip irrigation enhancements using water more efficiently than spray heads. We have converted approximately 1.5 acres of overhead spray to drip irrigation. These include the clubhouse parking lot shrub areas, and various shrub slopes throughout the community. We also converted turf medians to drought tolerant plants. The community converted non-functional turf areas to bocce ball courts and horseshoe pits.
Working with an educated customer and General Manager from Merit Property Management allowed us to move forward with this project in time for the hot summer season. We expect significant reductions in water as a result of the improvements. We will provide a follow-up post in the fall to let you know how it went.
Jonathan Caceres – ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance
Regional Irrigation Advisor – Inland Empire
Jonathan graduated in Sociology with a minor in Management from Cal Poly Pomona and went on to continue his education in Landscape Architecture at UCLA Extension. Jonathan has 5 years experience in the industry and has been with ValleyCrest since 2009. Jonathan has played a vital role in the Inland Empire Region helping clients save water by ensuring that their irrigation systems are operating as efficiently as possible. Jonathan currently holds the following certifications:
- IA Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor
- IA Certified Landscape Water Manager
- ISA Certified Arborist #WE-9384A
- US EPA WaterSense Partner
- Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester
- Recycled, Agricultural and Raw Water Use Site Supervisor