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water cost

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,724

    I am probably the only one that would do this.
    What is your water cost in your town? Do you tell your customers what it costs to water per hour?
    Mine is $2.63 per unit (100 cubic feet) which is 748 gallons.

    I tested an oscillating sprinkler by placing it into a 5 gal bucket and used a watch. I found the time in seconds to fill the bucket. Output was a bit over 5 gallons per minute.
    That is 300 gallons per hour.
    300 over 748 would be .401 of a unit per hour.
    .401 times the rate of $2.63 equals $1.05 per hour to water my lawn with an oscillating sprinkler.
    This was a test--I actually have underground sprinkling.
    And my water bill includes a sewage charge based on our winter use, and some ready to serve fees, together it seems steep.

    And I discovered that I can look up my bill online using only my address. And I can look up the water bill of any address in my town, if I know the address.
    So potentially, if someone tells me that water their grass a lot...I can quickly learn how much water their household actually used that quarter. This could be useful for those situations where the new-seed customer exaggerates how much they watered and complains that the seed "didn't take".
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,539

    Conversely,if you lived in a area with high water cost's and were able to tell someone how much it would cost to establish seed or just water for a day then that is valuable information.
  3. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    When we design an irrigation system we know how many gallon the design will use, we let the customer know the estimated cost to run the system during the year. This is particularly useful when upselling the customer to more efficient components and rain sensors.

    Also i don't know if you are aware of this, most people are not, but in most areas you can have a second water meter installed. The existing meter would remain for the house and be used for the sewer charge as well, while the second meter would be for the irrigation and spickets and would not be used for sewer charges. Often though the cost to have a second meter installed is more than paying for multiple years of extra sewer charges and thus not worth it.
  4. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Hi Riggle,

    As Green said, irrigation designs should ball park it and then it should be tested under operating conditions too. Besides the second meter there are various ways for sewer credits.

    Many areas have tiered water rates so after what is considered typical household use the cost of water jumps up.
    Your clients should be getting sewer credits too. In commercial accounts this often requires a separate meter. In residential it is often the average sewer cost during the winter that is applied to the rest of the season. I am sure there are other ways around the country but find out how this is done because sewer is often more expensive than water.
    If all you want to do if find flow, you can start the irrigation system and just read the meter using a stop watch.
    As an Irrigation Auditor we look at total flow, and output. Verify the system has no major deficiencies, grossly misaligned heads, spraying excessively on to hardscape, breaks and such. The difference between output and application could be losses to wind, misting, and evaporation.
    We determine the distribution uniformity (DU), fix excessively low DU then calculate the run time based on the lower quarter DU, and calculated Evapotranspiration. This is an over simplification of the process but yes, people do discuss watering cost and there are water management programs.
  5. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    We are at $7.28 per 1000 gallons here...I irrigate from a creek using a gas pump and elec booster...even this setup cost less per 1000. I have it figured at about $2-3 per 1000.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    We looked at some pretty neat water-saving devices some years back. Things like on-site weather stations (before Toro and RainBird came out with their wireless connections to ET monitors) and soil moisture sensors that could control the entire system for you.

    When we tested these devices, they all saved water (and money) when compared to how the customers or landscapers were watering previously. But, even if we could save the customer 50% on his water bill, it would still take two summers for the customer to recoup the cost of buying the system, so none of them bought it.

    Water is really expensive in some places, but still pretty cheap in other places. I think as the price of technology goes down over time and the price of water goes up, these types of devices will become more popular.
  7. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Sad but a two season ROI is pretty good. Where else could someone invest money and get it back in two seasons and it keeps paying.

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