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You are here: Home > Sprinkler School™ > Parts and Components > Irrigation Pumps & Pump Start Relays > Irrigation Pumps And Alternate Water Sources
Irrigation Pumps And Alternative Water Sources

Irrigation Pumps And Alternative Water Sources

Pumps - Parts and Components

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Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

A simple Rain Water
Catching System collects
Runoff from a homes
gutters and redirects
it into a stored
Tank or "Cistern".

What source of water will you use in your irrigation system? Most homeowners will use the water supply for their home. In some areas water is charged based on usage, and some states have specific restrictions concerning water usage. Certain communities have restrictions on how long and when water may be used for irrigation. In addition water used for landscaping purposes may be added to your sewer fees even though the water used does not drain into the sewer system. Many people have begun to tap into alternative sources of water to irrigate their landscape.

Sources of water that can be tapped into to supplement your municipal supply include wells, ponds, rainwater catching systems, and reused grey water (which includes bathing, dishes and laundry water). Ponds and wells are very simple to set up. Rainwater catching devices are little more in depth and by far the most involved is converting grey water into a viable irrigation water source.

Seeking an alternative water source to suit your irrigation needs will require the assistance of a master plumber or irrigation contractor to be installed safely. Using the correct pump for the job is also crucial and will require the assistance from a pump dealer. The pressure, size and type of pump are extremely important factors and will depend upon your irrigation plan. It's best to bring a copy of your plan to a pump specialist for assistance or consult an irrigation contractor for a recommendation. The two main types of pumps that are used are deep-well and shallow-well.

Deep-well pumps


The most common type of deep well pump is called a jet pump.The pump is self contained and can be dropped into a well that is 75 feet deep or more using a power cord and a water line. There may be a separate tether that comes up out of the well also. This type of pump is practically silent because it operates underwater. You may appreciate how quite the pump runs when your sprinkler system comes on during the early morning hours.

Shallow-well pumps


A shallow-well jet pump works the same way as a deep-well pump but is made for water that is shallow or surface water. This type of pump is also quite when operating. Another type of pump that is used for shallow water is a suction pump. It is not as quiet as a jet pump. A suction pump sits at ground level and uses a hose to draw up the water. This type of pump is portable and easily serviced.

If the pump will be used solely for your sprinkler system you may not need a separate holding tank. It is crucial that the pump meets the pressure and flow of your irrigation plan. Do not buy a pump untill you have completed your plan. Backflow prevention is another feature that must be made if you plan on using non-potable water. Contact the proper municipality to determine what requirements are needed to meet local codes. Go to Backflow Prevention for more information.

Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

Ponds are an excellent source of
irrigation water. Consult a pump
specialist for help picking the right
pump for your irrigation layout.

Ponds are an excellent source of water to be used in an irrigation system. If you want to utilize a pond or any type of surface water you will need a special pump to get the water to your irrigation system at the right pressure. One type of pump that can be used is a shallow-well pump, other variety of pumps can used as well. Consult a pump specialist for help to determine which pump will best suit your needs.

You can use rainwater to supplement your source of water for your sprinkler system. The simplest system collects runoff from your homes gutters and redirects the rainwater into a sealed holding tank. Diverters can be installed to direct the water back into the storm drains when the tank becomes full. "Sweepers" are used to keep twigs, leaves and debris out of the tank The sweeper will flush the first several gallons of water back into the storm drains. The rest of the water is collected and stored to be used later when needed. Rain water collection requires a pump to pressurize and move the water into your sprinkler system. Backflow prevention will be necessary if you are supplementing with your homes water supply. Even if this will be your sole source of water you must check with your local municipalities in regards to codes for installing a backflow preventer in some jurisdiction it will still be required.

Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

Grey water, also known as sullage, is non-industrial waste water that has been generated from dish washing, laundry and bathing. Black water refers to water that contains sewage or toxic chemicals. White water is from groundwater or potable " drinkable" water.

Grey water can be used as an alternative water source in your irrigation system. However it takes a lot of work, effort and money to use grey water to irrigate your landscape. Some communities are now supplying treated grey water through a separate delivery system to be used solely for landscape irrigation.To reclaim you grey water without municipal assistance requires major replumbing and constant attention to any potentially hazardous material being poured down the drains.

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