An underground sprinkler system for lawn irrigation is attractive and efficient. Where municipal water is available, it’s an easy installation. In rural areas around Cross Plains WI and nearby communities where water wells are relied upon, there are limitations. But, done right in-ground irrigation can be achieved using your rural Wisconsin water source.
There are two key considerations before committing to an in-ground sprinkler system:
- How much water can your well provide – in terms of gallons per minute (GPM)
- How much water (GPM) can your existing pump deliver at a reasonable, usable pressure
A powerful pump running for an extended period can run a well dry – it will refill when the pump stops. A weak pump isn’t likely to stress the well but it won’t deliver an even distribution of water, either. For a successful lawn and garden irrigation system these two critical elements must be coordinated.
‘Homework’ Prior To Lawn Irrigation Commitment
Before contacting an irrigation contractor, collect as much vital information on your system as possible. All the wells in your neighborhood aren’t operating at the same level so avoid generalizations. A well within 100 feet of yours can have drastically different specs.
Your “homework” assignment includes:
- An accurate Well Record – a Well Record is a legal document recording all the vital data pertaining to individual wells. If you don’t have one for your property, get it from the original well driller – the company name should be on the metal well cap. Well drilling companies are legally bound to record well data and keep a record on file. The Well Record will include recommended pumping rates (GPM) as well as a “test rate” the well driller used to test the well when it was installed. It will also include the depth of the well.
- Pump Data – know the make, model number and horsepower rating of the current pump. If you don’t have one, obtain a copy of the pump’s operator’s manual for additional specs.
- Water Pressure – in-ground irrigation systems require steady water pressure and local, individual wells operate differently from municipal water supplies. On a residential well, water pressure can vary depending upon the pump. In some cases, an additional pump may be added specifically to meet the demands for lawn irrigation – providing even pressure to sprinklers without reducing pressure to the home.
- Rate of Flow – figuring the flow rate for individual water wells depends upon configuration. Some use a holding tank from which the home draws water. The flow rate from the tank isn’t always the same as directly from the well – rate of flow often drops when the tank empties. Sprinkler systems use a lot of water in a hurry and can empty tanks. An empty tank can lead to an overheated and damaged pump.
- Backflow Concerns – a backflow preventing valve system is a must with lawn sprinklers or an automatic irrigation installation drawing water from wells. The system prevents dangerous contaminants from getting into the water through the irrigation pipes and sprinkler heads. Municipalities often have their own regulations pertaining to backflow prevention, so check early in the process.
- Size Matters – combining all these inputs to complete a comprehensive plan will optimize your chances for a successful installation. The overall space covered, the number and output of sprinkler heads and the length of run between heads will all be determined by the capacity of your water delivery components. Options range from reducing the amount of lawn or gardens covered by the system to installing higher capacity pumps to increase output and pressure.
The bottom line concern is that a lawn irrigation system can not exceed the capacity of the well or pump.
Don’t Guess, Ask A Pro
The trained, licensed professionals at Sauk Plains Plumbing and Pumps have decades of experience installing and maintaining water wells, pumps and system components. If you’re considering an in-ground sprinkler system for your rural property, consult these professionals.
Call Sauk Plains Plumbing today at 608-798-2121, to review the capacity of your water wells and the potential for a successful lawn irrigation system in Cross Plains, Verona, Waunakee and Middleton WI.