Contractors in dry and drought stressed regions should take special note of this trend:
“Drought drives growth of drip irrigation,” said Steve McCarter, Landscape Products Vice President of Sales.
Many parts of the U.S. are currently in a drought or will be this summer, including Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas.
In these areas, cities are more likely to put pressure on property owners to reduce their landscape water use, through rebates on water-saving landscape upgrades or with water restrictions and fines.
These incentives are what help drive the switch to drip irrigation, said McCarter, since drip irrigation can reduce water use in a typical landscape by thousands of gallons of water annually compared to sprinklers or hand-watering.
The growing importance of drip irrigation in the U.S. was underscored this month with the release of two guides from the EPA: Adding Microirrigation to Your Services: A Mini-Guide for Irrigation Professionals, as well as a short guide to drip irrigation for homeowners.
Landscape architects also expect drip to be in high demand—it was the third most popular sustainable landscape element and fifth most desired landscape element overall for 2018, in ASLA’s recent Residential Landscape Trends Survey.
Making the Switch to Drip Easier
Since drip irrigation applies water to the base of the plant, it isn't affected by wind and evaporation, making it the most efficient way to water most plants. Switching a sprinkler zone to drip irrigation can reduce water by as much as 30-50 percent.
Landscape Products offers a Retro Drip Adapter for converting a sprinkler zone to drip irrigation. It allows for easy installation of point source emitters or dripline to shrubs, ground cover, garden beds and trees that were previously irrigated by sprinklers, said McCarter.
Landscape Products is also developing a Spray to Drip Retrofit Kit to include the adapter, along with all the tubing and fittings needed to convert a typical zone, to make it even easier to switch to drip and qualify for water agency rebates.
Other manufactures are also continuing the push to make drip irrigation an easier choice. Hunter Industries offers the Eco-Mat, a subsurface dripline mat that makes drip irrigation more viable for some turf areas and green roofs. And a new product from Rain Bird, the QF Dripline Header, is the landscape industry’s first pre-fabricated header for faster and more flexible dripline installations.
Innovations like these are making the switch to drip easier than ever for irrigation contractors.