VIDEO: “We know we have a water wastage problem. The High Efficiency Irrigation Standard will help solve it,” stated Kirby Ell

Solutions and Tools for Building Water-Resilient Communities

Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. Annual volumes of water entering and exiting regions are not necessarily changing. Instead, what is changing is how and when water arrives – it is flood and drought!

Adaptation to a Changing Climate

In December 2015, the Feast AND Famine Workshop addressed this over-arching question: What should we expect and what can we do to build “water-resilient communities”? The program comprised four modules that were cascading – from high-level visioning to ground-level applications. Adaptation to a changing climate was a unifying theme.

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Each module had an identified ‘learning objective’. For Module D, the objective was that participants would understand the importance of “getting it right at the front-end” on land uses that local governments regulate and/or can influence within settled areas of watersheds. In Module D, Kirby Ell introduced and explained the purpose and application of the new High Efficiency Irrigation Standard (HEIS), developed by the Irrigation Industry Association of BC.

High Efficiency Irrigation Standard

High Efficiency Irrigation Standard

Landscape irrigation can use up to 50% of the summertime domestic water demand. Improving irrigation system efficiency can significantly reduce water demand, stretch water supplies and help protect watersheds. This can be accomplished by requiring better products, an improved understanding of system hydraulics, informed irrigation installers and management tools that will take into account crop, soils and climate.

Kirby Ell_Dec2015_120pThe new High Efficiency Irrigation Standard (HEIS) is an online assessment tool. HEIS is tangible, implementable and results in cumulative benefits. “No irrigation system works at 100%. The reality is that most are about 50% efficient,” stated Kirby Ell. “For an acre of grass, the water wasted every season is equivalent to almost two Olympic swimming pools. And that is treated domestic drinking water that is being wasted.”

“We know we have a problem. So how do we solve it? The High Efficiency Irrigation Standard will help a lot. It was created to reduce the amount of water that we use for irrigation. The need has existed for a long time. Previously, there was no tool to help landscape irrigation contractors.”

HEIS – A Tool to Save Water

HEIS has been developed to improve the water efficiency of irrigation systems in British Columbia. The standard promotes the certification programs and standards of the Irrigation Industry Association of BC. The premise of the standard is that if all of the correct steps are taken, from design to installation to operation, there is a better chance that the irrigation system will be more efficient and save water.

There are 7 steps that must be followed to complete the irrigation section of the standard. A rating of 80 or higher must be achieved on average for the 7 steps in order for the HEIS standard to be achieved. Points in each tab are weighted to determine the final rating number.

There are an additional 2 steps that need to be completed to achieve a High Efficiency Water Use project. These two steps are not necessarily the responsibilty of the irrigation contractor so they have been separated for clarity. These steps are an assessment of the soil available on site and the collection and re-use of rainwater or reclaimed waste water.

To Learn More:

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kirby Ell, click on High Efficiency Irrigation Standard: Save Water & Improve Landscape Health

To download a copy of the High Efficiency Irrigation Standard Backgrounder as prepared by the Irrigation Industry Association, CLICK HERE.

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