Irrigation Association Certified Irrigation Technician Training Sponsored by SiteOne and Hunter

Irrigation Association Certified Irrigation Technician Training Sponsored by SiteOne and Hunter

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Two Locations:

Cleveland, Ohio – February 14th, 2018

LACENTRE Conference & Banquet Facility
25777 Detroit Road
Westlake, OH 44145

Columbus, Ohio – February 15th, 2018

Crowne Plaza Columbus North
6500 Doubletree Avenue
Columbus, OH 43229

 Seats are Limited

Contact your SiteOne Representative to Register

* Includes “Landscape Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance” by the Irrigation Association

Landscape Irrigation System Installation & Maintenance

Beginner | Landscape & Golf (8 CEUs)
Learn the basics of hydraulics and irrigation system installation and maintenance. This full-day learning session covers an overview of irrigation system components and how they operate. Learn about gluing and repairing PVC pipe, installing nozzles and adjusting heads, setting and repairing electric valves, and field and controller wiring techniques. Recommended review for the certified irrigation technician exam.

Certification gives you a competitive edge. Become a certified irrigation technician and:

  • Add instant credibility with customers and employers.
  • Increase job opportunities.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to efficient water management.
  • Qualify for the EPA WaterSense program.

Certified Irrigation Technician Logo

CIT Overview

CITs are field technicians who install, maintain and repair irrigation systems. CITs

  • cut and join pipe, know the limitations of different piping systems and understand basic hydraulics.
  • lay out and install piping and water delivery components; backflow prevention components; mechanical, hydraulic and electrical irrigation controls; and other irrigation system components.
  • troubleshoot and repair irrigation components and systems.

Becoming a CIT

To become a CIT, you must:

  • Register for the exam. Recommended: six months or 1,000 hours of irrigation-related field experience.
  • Pass the irrigation technician exam. The three-hour exam includes 100 equally weighted, multiple-choice questions on basic irrigation principles, basic electrical principles and basic hydraulics.
  • Comply with the Select Certified Code of Ethics.
  • Remain in good standing. CITs must submit 20 continuing education units per two-year cycle.

CIT Exam Fees

Irrigation Technician Exam Fee — 175 (Member), $300 (Nonmember) 
Exam Retake Fee — $175 (Member), $300 (Nonmember)  
Annual Renewal Fee (one certification) — $50 (Member), $100 (Nonmember) 
Annual Renewal Fee (two or more certifications) — $100 (Member), $150 (Nonmember)

See the Certification Candidate Handbook for exam policies, procedures and fees outside of North America.

Don’t Miss the Ohio IA Annual Meeting, January 15 at MGIX!

The Ohio Irrigation Association annual meeting, held in conjunction with MGIX 2018, will be followed by a FREE reception at Barley’s Brew House.


When: Monday, January 15

Time: 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm
(Reception following at Barley’s Brew House)

Where: The Greater Columbus Convention Center – Eisenmann Room (formerly B200)

Reception – Free Beer, Wine and Food

annual meetingJoin Ohio Irrigation Contractors

When: Monday, January 15

Time: 6:45 pm to whenever

Where: Barley’s Brew House, 467 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio (across the street from the Convention Center)

Reception and Door Prizes Courtesy of HunterRain Bird and Toro 

Don’t miss out on the best party of the year! Mingle with old friends, vendors, and manufacturers’ representatives. Hunter, Rain Bird, and Toro personnel will be there, as well as the Board of Directors for the Ohio Irrigation Association.

Find out how others fared through 2017. Learn about new products and old tricks. Get the latest news and views from experts. Companies from all over the state of Ohio will be represented.

We’ll See You There!

MGIX 2018 Is Set for January 15-17


MGIX 2018 is scheduled for three full days, January 15 through 17, 2018, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. This annual event combines industry-leading education with an expanded trade show. It’s a truly innovative green industry experience that you won’t want to miss!

Landscape Irrigation Education

Educational sessions of particular interest to landscape and irrigation professionals will include:

Trade Show

More than 300 exhibitors will be offering everything from nursery stock and hardscaping products to pest control and landscaping equipment. This year’s show is expected to attract thousands of attendees.

MGIXNew this year will be the Feature Stage! Located in the Exhibit Hall, the stage will spotlight entertainment, education and product presentations. The expanded trade show will also offer the Garden Lounge and New Product Showcase.

Family Time

Also new this year will be Family Programs. Many MGIX attendee and exhibitors own or work for family businesses. So MGIX 2018 offers activities and education sessions to address family business issues and provide family-friendly entertainment for all ages.

Back by Popular Demand

Back again for 2018 is the ever-popular Climbers Corners. This live-stage event features expert educators demonstrating a variety of arboricultural techniques important to tree care professionals, landscape crews, managers and landscape designers.

To Learn More…

For more information, including the education schedule and special events, Click Here.

To register for MGIX 2018, Click Here.

To reserve a booth, Click Here.




Is Your Landscape Irrigation System Ready for Winter?

Image result for winter residential landscape(Note: Portions of this article originally appeared in SportTurf Magazine)

The dreary days of November remind us that it’s time to start thinking about preparing your irrigation systems for winter.

Here are some tips for winterizing an irrigation system:

Preventing Pipe Damage

Of course, water expands when it freezes. Since automatic irrigation systems are usually buried only about twelve inches below the surface of the soil, any water left in the system over the winter (even a mild winter) will certainly freeze. This causes damage to pipes, fittings, valves, and sprinklers. And this damage can be expensive and time-consuming to repair next spring. So, preventing winter damage by properly winterizing the irrigation system is important.

The following video clip demonstrates the consequences of failing to do so:


The most common method of winterization is to use compressed air to force water out of the irrigation system. However, some irrigation systems are equipped with automatic or manual drain valves. These do not require compressed air to winterize. Check with your installing contractor to determine if your irrigation system has automatic or manual drain valves.

If you’re not sure, then go ahead and use compressed air. Using compressed air on an irrigation system equipped with automatic or manual drain valves will not harm the system components, and will ensure the irrigation system is properly winterized.

Selecting an Air Compressor

Air compressors are available in various sizes. A properly sized air compressor is critical in order do effectively and efficiently blow air into the irrigation system, forcing any water out. The most common portable air compressor (representing about 80% of the portable air compressors in use today) is the 185 portable air compressor. This machine is rated at 185 cfm at 100 psi at full load.

This type of compressor can be found through a contractors’ equipment rental shop, and it’s more than adequate for most residential and commercial irrigation systems. Smaller 5 h.p. electric air compressors, even if they’re 100 psi, do not deliver enough volume of air to adequately winterize an irrigation system.

How-To: Compressed Air Winterization

When using a compressor to winterize your system, follow these steps:

  • Shut off the water to the system at the point of connection. The system shut-off valve may be either a ball valve or gate valve. It should be located in the basement or directly behind the water meter.
  • Next, open a zone valve to relieve the system pressure.
  • Attach the air hose from the air compressor to the blow-out point. The blow-out point is usually located directly behind the backflow device. The blow-out point may be a quick coupling valve, a hose bib, or a boiler drain.
A note of caution: The expanding air coming from the air compressor into the irrigation system will get hot and may melt the plastic pipe. Carefully check the temperature of the air hose connection at the blow-out point. Slow down or stop momentarily if it feels too hot! Cycling through each zone two or three times for short intervals will prevent too much heat buildup.


  • Set the pressure regulator on the air compressor at 50 to 80 psi.
  • On smaller residential systems, where the zones are typically about 10 gpm or less, open one electric remote control valve manually. Then cycle through all the other zones two to three minutes by manually opening each valve or by electrically operating each valve at the controller. Opening one valve manually will help to keep the air compressor from building up too much pressure, while assuring an adequate volume of air to thoroughly blow out all the water in the system. (On larger systems, it may not be necessary to open one valve manually.)
  • Allow the air to flow through each zone until water and water vapor no longer appears from any sprinklers in the zone. Start with the zone with the highest elevation in the system or farthest from the point of connection. Blow out each zone successively toward the point of connection. It’s a good idea to cycle through each zone two times, to ensure no water is remaining.

How-To: Automatic Drain System Winterization

Some systems are equipped with automatic drains that open when the system pressure falls below 10 psi. For these systems, it is usually only necessary to turn off the water.

  • Open a drain valve after the point of connection.
  • Winterize the backflow device and controller (See “Backflow Preventer Winterization” below.)

Some irrigation systems incorporate automatic drain valves on the laterals with manual drain valves on the main line. The manual drain valves will be located in small valve boxes at the end and at low points on the main line. Open the drain valves, and allow the water to drain out completely. Then close the drain valve.

How-To: Manual Drain System Winterization

If your system is equipped with manual drain valves:

  • Locate the drain valve for each zone and the main line. The manual drain is usually located in a small valve box at the end of the zone and at every low point. Also, the main line will have a manual drain at the end of the line and at every low point.
  • Open each drain valve, allowing all the water to drain out, and then close the manual drains.
  • Winterize the backflow device and controller (See “Backflow Preventer Winterization” below.)

How-To: Backflow Preventer Winterization

The backflow preventer is the plumbing device attached to the outside of your house. It is the source of water to the irrigation system, and it can can freeze and burst in only a few hours of below-freezing temperatures. So winterizing your backflow preventer is critical.

Here’s how: (Refer to the above diagram.)

  • Turn off the main shut-off valve to the system (1).
  • Using an adjustable wrench, remove the outlet drain plug or spigot (5) on the outside piping.
  • Turn valves (3 and 4) to a 45-degree angle (half-open/half-closed position).
  • Cover/wrap the backflow valve and all copper pipe with a large towel or blanket.
  • Place 2-3 gallon bucket underneath drain (2) and open the drain valve. Generally, 1-2 gallons of water will empty into the bucket. Once all the water has drained out of the pipe, close the drain valve.

How-To: Controller and Rain Sensor Winterization

To prepare the irrigation controller for winter, simply turn the controller to the off or “rain shutdown” position. (You can also disconnect the power and remove the battery, but this is not necessary.) Do not allow the controller to cycle through an irrigation schedule without water in the system. 

If your irrigation system is equipped with a rain sensor or a soil moisture sensor, it’s not usually necessary to cover or remove the sensor for the winter. Check with the manufacturer to make sure your rain sensor does not require any special instructions for winterization.

How-To: Pump Winterization

If you have a submersible pump (i.e., located in a lake, stream or pond), the check valve at the pump must be removed to keep the discharge hose from freezing. The best way is to simply remove the pump and discharge hose from the water each winter, and reinstall in the spring.

If you have a centrifugal pump, follow these steps:

  • Remove the drain valve (located at the base of the pump housing) and store it for the winter.
  • Disconnect the power supply, to prevent the pump from being accidentally turned on without any water. (A pump running without water will quickly burn up.)
  • If the pump is drawing water from a lake or stream, you must remove the intake hose or suction line completely from the water and store it for the winter.
  • If a check valve is located on the discharge side of the pump, it too must be removed and stored for the winter.

Leave It to the Pros

As you can see, preparing an irrigation system for winter can be a complicated process. A knowledgeable professional is essential to minimize damage caused by freezing. An improperly winterized irrigation system can be an expensive proposition next spring.

Join Us at the 2017 Irrigation Show in Orlando!

Show Is Set for November 8-9, Education Conference for November 6-10

Irrigation Show 2017 is the only national trade show designed specifically for irrigation professionals. It’s where the irrigation industry comes together to network, learn and promote irrigation.

Nearly 5,000 distributors, dealers, contractors, consultants and growers are expected to attend this year’s event. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Check out innovative products, technologies and services.show2
  • Explore new suppliers.
  • Learn about the latest business trends and irrigation best practices.
  • Network with current business partners and with industry leaders who share the Ohio Irrigation Association’s commitment to efficient irrigation.

For exhibitor information, including booth space fees, assignment, and 2017 floor plan, click here.

Educational Opportunities

While enjoying sunny Orlando, be sure to attend some of the many irrigation seminars and classes that are offered. You’ll learn concepts and practical skills you can implement immediately.

244IrrigationShow2015LongBeach_boxScheduled classes offer:

  • Real-world applications and irrigation case studies.
  • Current techniques, field-tested information and best practices.
  • Instructors with industry expertise and proven teaching experience.

One-hour seminars will provide detailed coverage on a focused topic in landscape irrigation. Seminars are open to all attendees with a full registration. Participants will earn 1.00 CEU for each hour. This year’s topics will include:

  • Irrigating Green Roofs
  • Pressure Regulation to Improve Irrigation Efficiency
  • Basis of Design
  • Top 5 Employment Law Issues Facing Contractors

For a complete list of irrigation education classesclick here.  For a complete list of irrigation seminarsclick here.

A Proven Winner

Attendance at last year’s Irrigation Show was up double digits. Exhibitor presence was strong, and new product introductions were plenty.

In fact, research of past shows has indicated a strong correlation between show attendance and future sales. Specifically, within 12 months of the show:

  • 77% of the attendees purchased a product or service as a result of contacts made at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees contacted exhibitors met at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees visited exhibitor websites based on information from the show.

Check out this promotional video from last year’s Irrigation Show: 


Irrigation Association

Green Industry Pros

WaterSense Celebrates 10-Year Mark

Over the past decade, EPA’s WaterSense program has sparked a market transformation all across North America for irrigation products that save water, energy, and money.

The program was recently threatened by Trump administration budget cuts. (See related article, “AWE Fears WaterSense May Lose Funding.”) But that threat is on hold for now. (See box below.)

Let’s take a look at some of the program’s accomplishments in the last 10 years…

Label and Certification Milestones

Since 2007, more than 21,000 product models of plumbing fixtures and irrigation controllers have earned the WaterSense label for efficiency and performance.  More than 5,000 new models earned the label in 2016 alone. Nearly 68 million individual labeled products have been shipped to date. 

Beginning in 2006, WaterSense certification programs have focused on water-efficient techniques and technologies for certified irrigation system designers, auditors, and installation and maintenance professionals. Since then, thousands of irrigation specialists have been certified and gained an edge in the competitive marketplace.

The Three “P’s” — Products, Practices, People

In an effort to reduce the waste of outdoor water, the EPA program has promoted the three “P’s”— products, practices, and people. This includes:

  • Designing water-smart landscapes that are well-suited for the local climate
  • Installing WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers, and
  • Hiring WaterSense-certified irrigation professionals.

Their efforts have paid off. For instance, in 2016, the number of labeled irrigation controllers increased by an impressive 63% over the previous year.  These new, web-based models allow users to adjust their irrigation systems via an app on their smartphone.

What’s Next?

In 2017, the WaterSense program is focused on product labeling for pressure-regulating sprinkler bodies. The idea is that large amounts of water can be wasted whenever spray sprinklers operate under higher-than-normal pressure. In other words, significant water savings can be realized by regulating this pressure. To this end, the program recently released a draft specification for these new pressure-regulating sprinklers.

Let’s Keep It Going

The AWE is working to ensure that the WaterSense program can continue unabated. But they need help. Which is why they are seeking signers of letters supporting their proposed legislation to keep it going. To join in this effort, click here.

Environmental Protection Agency

Alliance for Water Efficiency

Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

Wi-Fi-Based Irrigation Technology Explained

Are you still in the dark about how to best incorporate Wi-Fi-based irrigation technology into your business?

The national Irrigation Association recently aired a webinar focused on the growing popularity of this technology, as well as the advantages and opportunities it brings to the landscape irrigation market. (See related article, “Internet-Based Smart Irrigation Systems.”) To purchase the IA webinar, click here.

Landscape Management magazine recently spoke with webinar presenters Stuart Eyring, president of Hydro-Rain, and Chris Klein, CEO and co-founder of Rachio. Here are some highlights of that interview:

How They Work

Q: How do Wi-Fi irrigation controllers work?

Chris Klein (CK): A Wi-Fi-based irrigation controller uses the homeowner’s Wi-Fi network to connect to the cloud. That’s where a lot of the process and scheduling takes place, and then that information is sent back down to the controller. You can have access to it through an app on any device you want—a desktop computer, mobile phone, tablet, etc.—and they all communicate with the same computers in the cloud.

Q: Have you seen examples of Wi-Fi controllers being used to upgrade older systems?

CK: Yes, this is happening at a rapid pace. Eighty-five percent of our customers are replacing working controllers, and it’s just as easy as replacing any other controller.

Q: How do you program Wi-Fi controllers?

Stuart Eyring (SE): In terms of programming, the smartphone apps dramatically add to the ease of which programing is done—it’s much better than programming a typical display controller. But there’s a difference in comfort level in terms of where the user base is coming from. There is a transition point to getting people comfortable with this.

Weather Station Access

Q: Traditional smart controllers had their own weather instruments on-site, but Wi-Fi-based irrigation controllers now have access to millions of weather stations. How do they get evapotranspiration (ET) information?

CK: We use a variety of weather data providers and run them through equations to get ET. This process is getting more and more sophisticated. The other cool thing is homeowners can choose a weather station, which promotes continued engagement with their irrigation system.

SE: In our case, we use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service database in the U.S. Internationally, we use a database out of Norway. But it actually can be very helpful to have a rain sensor at the location, as well, because it can improve reliability.

Q: So you can add other sensors to a Wi-Fi controller?

SE: Yes, we’ve seen an increase in the use of sensing devices like weather stations and moisture sensors on-site that improve the quality of data.

Connections, Security and Updates

Q: What happens to the controller if it loses the Wi-Fi connection?

SE: The majority of the data is kept in the cloud, but there is a basic operating program that’s stored on the actual controller. While the controller won’t typically make any adjustments based on environmental conditions while in that mode, it will continue to run. When the connection is reestablished, the adjustments will begin again. This is typical across manufacturers.

Q: How do you protect security in terms of Wi-Fi and passwords?

SE: Security definitely can be a concern to a homeowner when they allow someone access to their network. But there is a difference between a contractor connecting to a homeowner’s network and connecting through the cloud. In an ideal case, the homeowner is sharing an access code through an app that would allow their contractor to control the system through the cloud, but not have access to the homeowner’s network.

Q: What happens if I buy my controller today and in 60 days it’s out of date?

CK: Updates to the firmware and the app happen automatically, so customers always have the latest and greatest version. In terms of hardware, who knows what will happen in the future, but as of now, our Generation 1 and 2 products work the same.

SE: In most cases, you won’t even know the firmware has been updated unless you go in and look at it. 

(The above flyer can be downloaded and customized for your business. Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply offers it to irrigation contractors as a free sales tool.)

Opportunities and Support

Q: What are the business impacts and opportunities that can be enjoyed by contractors venturing into this arena?

CK: There is a great opportunity to impact a contractor’s business by having a number of connected customers. By installing that product and working with them you have a connection with them. You can stay in touch, the homeowner knows where to go for help and it presents an opportunity for customer retention.

Q: What about support? How do you help contractors when they are stuck?

CK: We have a dedicated contractor phone line and can be reached through email and chat, too.

SE: We have noticed that there is really more upfront hand-holding required. But once the Wi-Fi-based irrigation controller is installed and operating, support requirements go down. That’s because of the ease of the interface and how intuitive it is. Getting started can be challenging, but once contractors get the hang of it, it’s really very easy.


Landscape Management

Irrigation Association

AWE Fears WaterSense May Lose Funding

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) believes that the EPA’s WaterSense labeling program is in grave danger of losing its funding as part of Trump administration EPA budget cuts.

Which is why the AWE recently delivered a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt to urge continued funding for the labeling program. WaterSense labeling has been proposed for elimination in the White House budget, along with the EPA’s Energy Star program.

The AWE’s letter outlines the numerous benefits of WaterSense. And it represents the support of 187 manufacturers, businesses, water providers, and other organizations.

EPA Administrator Holds Key to Funding

The 10-year-old WaterSense program was designed to help consumers save water by labeling products that use at least 20% less water, while performing as well as or better than standard models.

But the program has never been congressionally authorized and has been funded at the discretion of the EPA Administrator.

“The WaterSense program is a cornerstone of our nation’s water sustainability strategy, and has become vital to American communities, manufacturers, and service providers.”  That’s according to Mary Ann Dickinson, AWE President and CEO.

“Defunding the program will be harmful to US businesses and families.”   Mary Ann Dickinson, AWE President and CEO

She believes the Trump administration’s budget “undervalues the contribution water efficiency makes to economic growth and the benefits of efficiency for US-based manufacturing.” According to Dickinson, “Defunding the program will be harmful to US businesses and families.”

The AWE letter calls on Administrator Pruitt and Congress to maintain the $2 million budget for WaterSense, stating in part that WaterSense is “a voluntary public-private partnership that has saved American consumers more than $33 billion (in 2015 dollars) on their water and energy bills over the past decade.”

The letter goes on to state that “WaterSense has already saved more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water. That’s more than the amount of water used by all of the households in California for a year!”

Click Here to view the complete letter.

Corporate Support

The letter was supported by leading American companies and organizations such as the Irrigation Association, Hunter Industries, Rain Bird Corp, Kohler Company, and more than 183 other organizations, including water providers from around the country.

According to the AWE, the WaterSense program has more than 1,700 partner organizations that rely on the program to support their businesses or water efficiency strategies. The WaterSense standards are also the basis for legislation in four states and other local plumbing codes that reference it. In addition, the program helps consumers manage their water costs and can help American families reduce their water bills by up to $350 per year. 

Others agree that defunding the program is a bad idea. Such as Pete DeMarco, AWE Board Chair and Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Research at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. “Eliminating WaterSense would destabilize the marketplace for manufacturers… and irrigation professionals that market their WaterSense certification.” 

As a result, the AWE is working closely with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Plumbing Manufacturers International, American Water Works Association, and the High-Performance Buildings Coalition to preserve the labeling program. They invite all organizations with a stake in water resources to join them in the effort.

Want to Get Involved? Here’s How…

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) is accepting new members.

The AWE is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to the sustainable and efficient use of water in North America.

The Alliance is carving a path to a water-efficient and water-secure world, and they invite you to join this group of leading thinkers, decision-makers and pioneers.

To Join the AWE or to Learn More…
Click Here


Alliance for Water Efficiency


What Are YOU Doing to Promote Smart Irrigation Month?

It’s that time of year again…July is Smart Irrigation Month and, as usual, there are many ways  for businesses and consumers to participate in the campaign.

First launched in 2005, Smart Irrigation Month continues to gain traction each year as consumers and irrigation specialists alike recognize the positive impact efficient irrigation and water use provides to all of us.

Give This a Try!

Place a few empty tuna cans around your lawn while you’re watering and measure how long it takes your sprinkler to fill them with a half inch of water. Then, try watering that amount of time twice a week, gauge how your landscape responds, and adjust based on weather conditions. Or simplify by replacing your standard clock timer controller with a WaterSense-labeled irrigation controller.

Smart Systems

Among the strategies being presented to consumers, first and foremost is proper programming of automatic watering or sprinkler systems to deliver just the right amount of water at the right time.

Additional strategies include:

  • Proper landscaping, keeping soil healthy, mulching and routine landscape maintenance
  • Investing in an irrigation system that uses the best, most flexible, components, has “smart” controls, and meets code requirements
  • Watering during the evening and early morning to prevent evaporation, taking soil type and sprinkler placement into consideration
  • Maintaining the sprinkler system regularly by adjusting sprinkler heads, repairing leaks and monitoring pressure


According the the EPA’s WaterSense website, adopting water–savvy habits also is essential to maintaining and extending our communities’ water supplies, especially during peak use. WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers/distributors, and utilities to bring high-performing, water-efficient products to the marketplace.

WaterSense also partners with professional certifying organizations to promote water–efficient landscape irrigation practices. Since the program began in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a total of 1.5 trillion gallons of water, resulting in more than $32.6 billion in water and energy bill savings.

Smart Ideas

Since July is the peak month for water consumption, the national Smart Irrigation campaign is also encouraging industrial firms and professionals to promote smart irrigation practices and technologies.   Here are just a few of the many  “Smart Ideas” to promote the national campaign that are listed on the Irrigation Association website:

  • Add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to your website, ads, customer presentations, field signs, invoices and more.
  • Submit a press release or letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Ask employees to add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to their e-mail signature block.
  • Host a live demonstration of water-saving irrigation technologies, in the field or at your location.
  • Feature water-efficient products and services in displays, ads, promotions and product demos with the Smart Irrigation Month logo.
  • Use a banner, outside signage or counter sign to encourage customers to ask about smart irrigation.

smart irrigation month

  • Make smart irrigation the theme of sales calls.
  • Give awards to customers and/or business partners who promote water-efficient practices.
  • Volunteer to speak to a local homeowner association, garden club or civic group.
  • Distribute copies of the Smart Irrigation Month coloring book at a farmers market or county fair.
  • Ask your local radio station to play a public service announcement, promoting July as Smart Irrigation Month.

Remember…Every Drop Counts! What are YOU doing to promote Smart Irrigation Month? 


Irrigation Association

EPA WaterSense

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Irrigation Systems

As an irrigation specialist, if you’re not already on the “green infrastructure bandwagon,” what’s holding you back?

The green infrastructure (or GI) movement is growing in communities throughout the U.S.  In its position statement, the national Irrigation Association has officially recognized GI as “a promising new market” for irrigation contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers.

(To access the Irrigation Association’s 2014 webinar titled “Green Infrastructure: The Role of Irrigation in Stormwater Management,” Click Here.)

What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

In a nutshell, green infrastructure utilizes living plant material to create a more natural method for stormwater mitigation. GI tools include vegetated swales, rain gardens, porous concrete, green roofs and rain barrel installations.  (See related article, “Rainwater Harvesting: Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!“)

Why is this an important topic for irrigation and landscape professionals?

Well, for one thing, in our current era of heightened water quality concerns, new state and federal investments are being aimed specifically at green infrastructure.

“The opportunity here is to be a resource for water quality managers and sustainability professionals.” That’s according to Paul Lander (Ph.d, ASLA, LEED AP), a consultant with Dakota Ridge Partners in Boulder, Colo.

“In almost every city across the nation, they’re going to have a whole suite of things on their plates. If there’s an opportunity (for irrigation professionals) to be seen as a resource, the profession’s going to go a lot further, and we’ll get more resources coming our way to help with this green infrastructure movement.”

It’s All About Runoff

The big issue, of course is stormwater runoff. Particularly with combined sewer systems, where the stormwater pipes connect to the sewage pipes. Combined sewer systems are found in approximately 860 municipalities across the U.S.. These are mostly concentrated in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes.

Not only is this a waste of stormwater, but the sewage treatment facilities are not designed to handle the large volume of water that occurs from a rain event. With as little as a 1/4 inch of rainwater, the combined systems will overflow the rainwater mixed with untreated sewerage into the local waterways.

You may recall when Ohio’s stormwater runoff issues became national news in 2014. That’s when the pollution in Lake Erie forced the City of Toledo to shut off its water supply. For three days.

Green infrastructure has been heralded as a more efficient and effective solution to these water pollution issues than traditional gray infrastructure.

For Municipalities and Neighborhoods

John  Farner, Government and Public Affairs Director for the Irrigation Association, recently explained that, at the municipal or county level, GI refers to the patchwork of natural areas that provide habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water for the community.  (See related article, “Can the Ohio River Be Saved?”)

With neighborhoods, on the other hand, GI refers to stormwater systems that mimic nature by soaking up and storing water. Many states and municipalities (such as Philadelphia) have adopted holistic approaches to watershed management that strongly feature green infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, landscape overwatering is commonplace, Lander said. And it’s the bane of water quality managers. These local, state and federal officials are tasked with ensuring compliance with regulations to minimize ill effects on water sources.

“Increasingly, nonpoint-source pollution, like irrigation runoff, is coming under scrutiny by these folks,” Lander said. Landscape and irrigation professionals who aren’t familiar with nonpoint-source pollution are behind the times, he added.

Opportunity Missed?

Not only that, but they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to partner with water quality managers in pursuit of GI projects.

“It’s all the little things around us that in aggregate can have a big impact,” Lander said. He believes the onus is on the professional irrigation community to step up and participate.

Why? “Sites need green infrastructure and green infrastructure will need smart irrigation,” he said.


Irrigation Association

Irrigation Market Watch

Rainwater Harvesting: Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

With April upon us, we are reminded that every year Mother Nature provides us with trillions of gallons of water. Free of charge. In the form of rain.

Last year, for instance, the storms which pummeled the Carolinas dropped enough water to halt California’s five-year drought. And yet, few of us take advantage of learning how to capture this precious resource.

Instead, it flows off lawns into streams, then rivers, then oceans.

A recent article in Irrigation & Green Industry magazine suggests that, when irrigation specialists build cisterns to harvest rainwater, they are providing their customers with “manna from heaven.”

But they’re also helping to build the water infrastructure of the future. And providing themselves with an additional revenue source.

New Revenue Stream

Paul Lawrence, president of Texas Land & Water Designs LLC, has been installing rainwater harvesting systems for the past seven years, and he’s a huge proponent of the practice. Lawrence feels that, not only is it a good source of revenue, but startup costs are low for the contractor.

“Licensed irrigators already have many of the skills that are required for rainwater harvesting; it’s a real natural fit for them,” he says.

And it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Virtually every house and commercial building already possesses roofing, gutters and downspouts. The catchment system simply takes the rainwater that now flows down the street and stores it for use at a later date.

The Basic Setup

There are several different options for storing rainwater: above-ground storage tanks, below-ground cisterns, or downspouts directed to bioswales. Smaller systems (such as those that capture less than a hundred gallons) can use rain barrels for storage.

Whatever option is chosen, a pump may be required to release the water when it’s ready to be used. Most pumps on residential systems are between one-third and one horsepower. That amount of power is sufficient to pressurize the water for either spray or drip irrigation. The pump can be activated manually, or a controller can be used to automate the rainwater flow into the irrigation system.

A couple of important considerations:

  • Sanitation should be the first consideration. At the very least, a screen should be placed in the gutter over the downspout. This will keep out large particulate matter, large solids and leaves.
  • Storage tanks must be properly sealed against pests and bacteria; otherwise, the water inside can become toxic.

  • Every storage tank needs to have an overflow device to prevent backup in heavy-rain situations.
  • The overflow device should be fitted with a flapper valve that will close up immediately after excess water has stopped flowing out. This will keep vermin from crawling up the spout.

An Attractive Option

For property owners who find traditional storage units unattractive, more aesthetically-pleasing options are available. For instance, Aquascape, an Illinois-based company, offers its “RainXchange” system, which combines a recirculating, decorative water feature with an underground storage basin.

According to Irrigation & Green Industry magazine, RainXchange offers the same functionality of other storage systems. Specifically, “It makes use of modular storage basins, stackable blocks that are somewhere between milk crates and Legos, which can be arranged in different shapes to fit a variety of application settings. They sit inside a rubber membrane to form a single, water-tight unit underground.”

Contractors can install the RainXchange system under turf grass. An increasingly common option is to install the system beneath a patio made of permeable pavers. According to Ed Beaulieu, director of field research for Aquascape, “This way, the pavers act as a catchment area that prefilters the rainwater before it enters the blocks. It’s very, very efficient.”

The following video demonstrates the installation of a similar underground system by a Texas-based vendor, Innovative Water Solutions:


Closer to home, Rain Brothers, a rainwater-harvesting company based in Columbus, offers system design services throughout Ohio and much of the Midwest.

A simple residential project typically runs between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on a variety of factors, such as size and excavation costs. For instance, if a client’s property doesn’t allow room for heavy equipment, digging by hand will increase the labor time substantially.

Who Are the Target Customers?

According to most irrigation contractors, conservation is the primary motivator when property owners consider installing a rainwater catchment system. Despite the fact that the installation costs them money, these clients are more worried about the long-term consequences of water shortages, pollution and soil erosion.

They may have heard that capturing rainwater is a tried-and-true method of simultaneously controlling runoff and withstanding drought conditions.

“In a residential setting, it’s next to impossible to show an ROI in three to five years,” Lawrence says. “By and large, those clients are doing it for environmental concerns.”

Add It to Your Menu of Services

Rainwater harvesting is a viable permanent addition to the menu of services offered by landscape professionals. As homeowners rediscover this ancient practice of capturing rainwater, contractors will have increasing opportunities to offer their services for installation projects.

Contractors can easily acquire the skills necessary to get started with catchment system installations. And there is an abundance of resources to ensure your success. The national Irrigation Association offers online classes on the subject, such as “Water Quality of Alternative Water Sources” and “Earning Points for Green Projects.”

In addition, the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) hosts workshops across the country for those seeking to pass their accredited professional exam. The ARCSA also offers a Resource Guide of rain harvesting designers, educators and suppliers.

Once you’re up to speed on best practices, rainwater harvesting can become a highly profitable source of revenue for your company… and a valuable service for your customers.


Irrigation & Green Industry Magazine

Irrigation Association

Innovative Water Solutions

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

How Do I Become a Certified Backflow Tester?

It’s the question most frequently asked by Ohio IA members: “How do I become a certified backflow tester?” 

But before we get into the details of the certification process, let’s explore the reasons behind the testing in the first place.

Why Is It Needed?

Irrigation system backflow devices help protect a home’s drinking water from contaminants such as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. The state of Ohio requires that these devices be tested on an annual basis. 

But this testing can only be done by individuals who have been certified by an approved testing school. This is a legal requirement. In Ohio, there are two such schools: APHC Backflow School and Ohio Contractor Training.

Backflow Disasters

In order to fully appreciate the importance of backflow testing, we need to see the consequences of backflow mishaps.

For instance, in December of last year, a backflow incident in Corpus Christi resulted in the city’s water being contaminated by an asphalt emulsifier known as Indulin AA-86. When a backflow valve in the city’s industrial district failed, about 24 gallons of the petroleum-based chemical were released into the city’s water supply.

Officials ordered a four-day tap water ban for the city’s 320,000 residents. Schools were closed. Several cases of illness were attributed to the tainted water. In the end, the cause of the crisis was eventually traced back to the city’s failure to enforce a testing requirement for its backflow devices.

Similar incidents occur more frequently on a much smaller scale. To view a list of 14 separate incidents compiled by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, click here.

State-approved certification for testers serves to keep these issues to a minimum.

Back to Certification…

There are several requirements which must be met prior to testing certification.

  1. First of all, you must have at least five years of experience working in the plumbing or water purveying industries.
  2. Then you must attend a three-day training course provided by one of Ohio’s approved testing schools. Here you will learn about extensive regulations enforced through the EPA, the Ohio plumbing code, and various municipalities. You’ll also learn how to dismantle and repair various types of backflow devices.
  3. At the end of the course, you must pass a practical exam.
  4. Finally, you need to apply to the Ohio Dept of Commerce for certification. If you meet the state’s requirements (e.g., you have a clean legal background), then you must take the state test. Once you pass the state test, you’ll receive your backflow testing certification card.

The following video clip from Sean Mullarky, owner of TriState Water Workssummarizes the certification process: 


Once you’ve met all the requirements and received you certification, you may then test backflows for irrigation systems.

But wait!  Every three years, state law mandates that you must be re-certified. This requires an additional one day of training and yet another practical exam.

The Benefits – More Work

Certified backflow testers are in high demand. Because Ohio law requires that irrigation systems be tested annually, potential customers will be seeking you out for this service.

We can help promote your testing services. Once certified, your name will be placed on the Ohio IA’s list of Certified Backflow Testers. This list is the second most trafficked page on our website, so it’s sure to generate new business for your company.

Get Started

If you’re ready to begin the certification process, contact APHC Backflow School or Ohio Contractor Training to get started.


Ohio Codes 

TriState Water Works

It’s National Fix a Leak Week!

Did you know….

Each year, household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide? That amount is:

  • Nine percent of the total water needed to end California’s five-year drought
  • Enough to fill 40 million swimming pools and 24 billion bathtubs
  • Almost equal to the capacity of Florida’s vast Lake Okeechobee
  • Equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes

Plug Those Leaks!

The EPA’s “Fix a Leak Week” is a national effort to stop that waste. This year’s event runs from March 20 through March 26.

Much of the problem stems from leaky kitchen and bathroom faucets, malfunctioning toilets and errant sprinkler systems. Fixing some of these easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills, according to the EPA.

Karen Wirth is in charge of marketing and outreach for the EPA’s WaterSense program. In her view, most folks are clueless about the total amount of water wasted because they “see a couple of drips coming out of their shower head, or sprinkler outside, or faucet, it doesn’t seem like that much.” 

So each year, the EPA hones in on the drips during Fix a Leak Week. Special events are planned from coast to coast to teach homeowners how to find and fix household leaks. To download the EPA’s Fix a Leak fact sheet click, click here.

Easy Fixes

There’s a simple way to check for leaks in the toilet, Wirth said. “Just put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If that shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.” This problem can often be fixed by simply replacing the flapper.

Replacing old and worn faucet washers and gaskets fixes most faucet leaks. For leaky shower heads, use pipe tape to secure the connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem.

For the EPA’s complete list of leak fixes, click here.

Leave It to the Pros

Irrigation systems can be another problem area. But this one best left to the professionals.

“An irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month,” according to the EPA.

They suggest that homeowners consult an irrigation professional certified by WaterSense to check for leaks throughout the system.


The Washington Post

Alliance for Water Efficiency

2017 Ohio IA Annual Election Results

The Ohio Irrigation Association is pleased to announce the election of the following individuals to the Officers and Board of Directors positions for 2017:

Ohio Irrigation Association Officers 2017

 PositionNameCompany PhoneCity/State
JC Wheaton PortraitPresidentJ. C. WheatonCenterville Landscaping(937) 433-5395Centerville, Ohio
Renzo DiFrancoVice PresidentRenzo DeFrancoIrrigation Pro, Inc.(440) 572-6600Columbia Station, Ohio
John Newlin, Secretary, Ohio Irrigation AssociationSecretaryJohn NewlinQuality Sprinkling Systems, Inc.(440) 327-1936North Ridgeville, Ohio
John DolleTreasurerJohn B. DolleRainscapes Irrigation Services(937) 313-6644Springboro, Ohio

Board of Directors 2017

 NameCompany PhoneCity/State
Kevin DarnerKevin DarnerWolf Creek Company(937) 854-2694 Office
(513) 913-0686
(937) 524-1728
Cincinnati, Ohio
Jim JulianoEMI (Environmental Management Inc.(614) 876-9988Columbus, Ohio
Kris KeckleyKris KeckleyRain One Irrigation & Drainage(614) 759-1196Blacklick, Ohio
Mike KneperMike KnepperCentury Equipment(513) 285-1811 office
(513) 889-6779 cell
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tim OwenTim OwenSiteOne Landscape Supply(614) 989-3839
(800) 347-4272 toll-free
Columbus, Ohio
(with locations throughout the U.S.)

It’s Spring Sprinkler Tune-Up Time!

As spring temperatures begin to warm the earth, it’s time to prepare your landscape irrigation system for another season of watering.

Although it’s always best to hire a qualified professional contractor when performing tasks like spring start-up, if you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ll want to follow these tips:

Timing Is Everything

First and foremost, you need to make sure spring has indeed sprung. Since the soil beneath your landscaping is always the last to thaw, use a shovel to confirm that the ground is frost-free 12 inches down. Starting your sprinkler system while the ground is still frozen can result in damage to the pipes. If it’s still hard as a rock, wait another week and try again.

Then check the settings on your sprinkler to make sure they are appropriate for your landscape’s watering needs, and replace the back-up battery in the timer/controller, if necessary.

Go with the Flow

Before turning on any water to the system, double-check that all manual drain valves are returned to the “closed” position.  When you first turn the water back on, be sure to open the system main water valve SLOWLY to allow pipes to fill with water gradually. Failure to do so can result in a high-pressure surge called “water hammer,” resulting in burst pipes and damaged valves.

Ensure that the sprinkler flow is unobstructed by checking for rocks, dirt, sand and other types of debris that could block your sprinkler heads. Keep an eye out for spray heads that may have become buried, allowing debris to accumulate around them during the winter.

Also, bear in mind that nozzles and sprinkler heads are designed to withstand normal wear and tear of irrigation, but not errant lawn mowers or snowplows. It’s important to replace all cracked, chipped or worn components.  A broken or leaky sprinkler can wreak havoc on both your landscaping and water bills.

Valves and Pressure Gauges

The valves in your irrigation system regulate the distribution of water throughout; they are its heart. Which is why you need to visually inspect each valve to determine that it’s operating properly. Verify the proper operation of each station valve by manually activating all zones from the controller.

It’s also important to make sure the water pressure is at a safe operating range.  A system with too much pressure will result in cracked pipes, busted valves, sprinkler head leaks and inefficient watering.

To this end, you may wish to invest in a water pressure gauge that can be used to measure water pressure in your home and yard. These devices typically connect to a hose faucet and give you a good idea of the pressure in your irrigation system. (Suggested operating range is typically 40 -65 PSI.) Hint: If water is “misting” out of your sprinkler heads, your pressure is too high and should be reduced.

Think It’ll Rain? 

Most modern irrigation systems are equipped with a rain sensor. This device should also be checked prior to activating your system in the spring. Here’s how:

  1. First, consult the systems operator’s manual to determine the proper setting for testing your unit. (For example, some systems must be set to the “manual all stations” setting to test them. If that is the case with your system, you cannot test it on the “manual single station” setting.)
  2. After properly setting the irrigation system control, check the system to make sure it came on. (You may need a helper to assist you.)
  3. Once you have confirmed that the sprinkler is running, depress the plunger located on the top of the rain sensor.  The sprinkler system should stop irrigating within a few seconds. 
  4. If watering does not stop when you depress the plunger, you’ll have to troubleshoot the system. Confirm that all wiring connections on the sensor and on the sprinkler control unit are tight. Check to make certain that the jumper tab, also called a jumper wire, was removed when the rain sensor was hooked up to the control panel.

Also be aware that the disk inside a rain sensor can become clogged with dirt or insects, which can keep it from functioning properly. Consult your operator’s manual for the correct procedure to clean the disk.

A Word about Backflow

A backflow device has been installed on your irrigation system in accordance with Ohio state law. This device prevents a cross-connection from occurring between the drinkable and undrinkable water in your home.

Spring is a good time to have your backflow preventer tested, as annual testing of the device is required in the state of Ohio. This testing can only be done by individuals who have been certified by an approved testing school. Backflow testers must have at least 24 hours of training in the classroom and hands-on test lab.

To locate a certified backflow tester in your area, Click Here.

Leave It to the Pros

Again, it’s best to leave all spring start-up tasks to the professionals. A qualified service technician will go through your irrigation system zone by zone and check every irrigation spray pattern for optimum turf and plant coverage, as well as check each sprinkler head and valve for any leaks. He can also test and clean your rain or weather sensor to ensure top performance.

Lastly, the technician will program the controller for the proper irrigation schedule, based on your landscape and weather conditions, as well as neighborhood watering restrictions.


Online Seminars from 2016 Irrigation Show Now Available

Enhance Your Knowledge of Efficient Irrigation and Water Management

If you weren’t able to take advantage of the 2016 Irrigation Show’s numerous educational opportunities, you’re in luck! All of the landscape irrigation seminars from this year’s show are now available for purchase at the Irrigation Association online store.

These one-hour online seminars address the underlying how-to’s of efficient irrigation and water management. All five seminars cost $28 each for members and $38 for nonmembers. Each seminar is worth one continuing education unit. 

These courses run interactively in the IA’s learning management system and are not downloadable. (Please note that you may receive continuing education units only once per certification renewal period for these seminars.)

To access all seminars available through IA’s online store, Click Here.

Seminars from the 2016 Irrigation Show and Education Conference include the following:

Auditing: Soil Moisture vs. Catch Cans

Catch-can audits measure sprinkler performance, while portable soil moisture sensors measure the effectiveness of the irrigation. Both methods are valid, as they both help correlate sprinkler performance with soil moisture uniformity. Uniformity affects irrigation scheduling and, ultimately, the appearance of the turfgrass, as evidenced below:

This seminar is presented by Brian Vinchesi, CIC, CID, CGIA, CLIA, CLIM, CLWM.

Click Here to purchase.

Earning Points for Green Projects

A common goal of most green programs is to reduce or eliminate the use of potable water in landscape irrigation. This seminar looks at various volunteer green programs, such as LEED, Sustainable Sites and Green Globes. It also considers the prerequisites, and explains how points are awarded for irrigation systems and the use of alternative water sources.

This seminar is presented by Doug Macdonald, CLIA.

Click Here to purchase.

Evapotranspiration and Irrigation Management

ET information is often used to provide a reference for determining the amount of water applied to plants. This presentation looks at:

  1. The location of weather stations compared to the site being managed,
  2. How ET is calculated, and
  3. What to consider when modifying the reference ET to estimate water requirements for different types of plants.

This seminar is presented by Brent Mecham, CID, CLWM, CLIA, CAIS, CIC, CGIA.

Click Here to purchase.

Measuring Landscape Water Use

Based on numerous residential and commercial audits, this seminar presents findings on the amount of water used in the landscape compared to estimated water demand. It also includes a look at both irrigation performance and landscape composition, with emphasis on how irrigation efficiency can be improved.  

This seminar is presented by Kelly Kopp, PhD. 

Click Here to purchase.

Water Quality of Alternative Water Sources

Not all sources of water are fit for plants. This seminar will addresses water quality issues with various alternative water sources. It explains how to determine if water is treatable or unfit for irrigation landscaping purposes. The course provides valuable information when considering the use of on-site alternative water sources for irrigation systems.

Click Here to purchase.

Additional information about these seminars and other seminar topics  is available on the Irrigation Association website


Irrigation Association

Wi-Fi Controllers Will Be Subject of Irrigation Association Webinar

Webinar is Scheduled for Feb. 24, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST

The national Irrigation Association is sponsoring a webinar to recognize the popularity of Wi-Fi-enabled controllers, as well as the advantages and opportunities that Wi-FI technology brings to the landscape irrigation market.

Brent Mecham (CID, CLWM, CIC, CLIA, CAIS) will moderate a discussion with Wi-Fi-enabled controller experts Brian Ewing of Rachio Inc. and Stuart Eyring (CAIS, CAWM, CGIA, CIC, CLIA, CLWM) of Hydro-Rain Inc. 

Webinar Topics

The webinar will address the following topics: 

  • Understanding the basic Wi-Fi technology and how it works with irrigation controllers. 
  • Improving water efficiency using technology. 
  • Navigating the security story in the technology world. 
  • Impacting the irrigation industry through smart-home trends. 
  • Applying Wi-Fi-enabled controllers properly.

Attendees can earn one continuing education unit toward an Irrigation Association certification. Cost for the webinar is $40. For more information or to register for the webinar:

About the Presenters

Brent Mecham

Brent Mecham is the industry development director for the Irrigation Association. Currently he is involved with the development of standards and codes that affect irrigation products and practices. He has more than 35 years of experience working in the landscape and irrigation industries, including his work with a large water agency in Colorado. Mecham has written numerous industry articles, is frequently a speaker at industry events, and has co-authored many of the training manuals and books offered by the Irrigation Association. He is certified as an irrigation designer, contractor, water manager and agricultural irrigation specialist. 

Brian Ewing

Brian Ewing is the vice president of sales at Rachio and is in charge of commercialization strategy for both the consumer and professional sides of the Rachio business. He is a consumer products champion and has worked with the largest retailers in the United States. Ewing has held leadership positions in both sales and marketing with with top-tier consumer packaged goods brands Black & Decker, Philips and OtterBox. 

Stuart Eyring

Stuart Eyring is the president of Hydro-Rain Inc. He concurrently serves as chief operating officer of Orbit. Prior to joining Hydro-Rain and Orbit, he served for 15 years in various U.S. and international management roles with Ford Motor Company and Honda Engineering North America. Eyring serves on the board of Davis Applied Technical College and is past-chair of the Irrigation Association Expo Advisory Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Japanese and finance from Brigham Young University and an MBA from The Wharton School.


National Irrigation Association

Water Efficiency in the Trump Administration


With a new administration in Washington, water efficiency advocates will be changing their tactics.

It’s All About Jobs… 

Instead of focusing almost exclusively on policy issues, they will now concentrate on job creation and water infrastructure. “Water efficiency is a non-partisan issue,” according to Mary Ann Dickenson, President and CEO of Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE). That’s because it’s implications are so broad, reaching across both public and private sectors.

For instance, the infrastructure spending for water efficiency creates jobs in both public and private sectors. And implementing new technologies and efficient products also creates jobs. This fits in well with President Trump’s agenda, Dickinson said.

The AWE cites a recent study that showed a government investment of $10 billion in water efficiency would result in the creation of 150,000 to 220,000 jobs. The economic benefit to the nation would be $1.30 to $1.50 for each $1 invested.

…and Taxes

Another priority for the AWE will be the introduction of  legislation to authorize tax-free water-efficiency rebates. Whereas energy-efficiency rebates have been tax-free since the 1990s, not so with rebates received from water utilities. Right now, taxpayers who receive water-efficiency rebates are sent a 1099 by the utility at the end of the year.

The Water-Energy Nexus

The rebate issue also draws attention to the so-called “water-energy nexus” — another hot-button issue which the AWE believes must be explored, both in policy and funding. 

“Right now, policy and funding (for water and energy) are very unequal,” said Gene Goldenberg, AWE’s Legislative Director. “Billions are spent on the state level for energy efficiency,” Goldenberg said. “Very little supplemental funding goes to water efficiency. Water utilities bear the burden; energy utilities do not.”

What’s Being Done?

So far this year, three water-efficiency bills have been introduced:

  1. H.R. 301 – NIST Plumbing Research Act of 2017. This bill would establish a laboratory within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct research on standards for home and building plumbing to increase water efficiency, safety and sustainability. 
  2. H.R. 306 – Energy Efficient Government Technology Act. This bill requires that government data centers develop an implementation strategy for the maintenance, purchase, and use of energy- and water-efficient information technologies. The resolution has passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate.
  3. H.R. 448 – Water Conservation Tax Parity Act. This bill would amend Section 136 of the Internal Revenue Code to include rebates provided by water utilities for water conservation and storm-water management.

Our Decaying Infrastructure

According to the most recent report card (2013) from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America’s water infrastructure is in a shambles.

“Much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States,” the report stated. “Pipes and mains are frequently more than 100 years old and in need of replacement.” The estimated cost of replacement would total about $1 trillion.

In addition, the report card indicated that our nation’s wastewater and stormwater systems will require a capital investment of $298 billion over the next twenty years. Three-quarters of this must be spent on repairing and expanding pipes.

The ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card will be published on March 9.

What Can We Expect?

With the new administration, “the playing field has changed,” Goldenberg said.  Just how well the Republican leaders will be able to work with President Trump remains to be seen.

The AWE expects that a lot of legislation will continue to emerge and will probably be signed. However, it will still be difficult to bring House resolutions to a vote in the Senate.

Fortunately, water-efficiency advocates have an ally in Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), chairman of  the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. According to Dickinson, the AWE has a “good relationship” with Murkowski.

As a result, they are hopeful that water-efficiency bills will not remain stalled in the Senate.

What Can We Do?

The AWE believes that support from business interests will be crucial in the Trump administration. Which is why they are suggesting that concerned citizens get their CEO’s and boards of directors involved in the water-efficiency issue.

To this end, the AWE has created a sample resolution for support of the Water Conservation Tax Parity Act. 

“Water efficiency is a local issue, with local influence,” Dickinson said. So local businesses and community leaders must get involved. The AWE will provide them with support, she said.

In the meantime, individual states can continue to act on their own, as they have in the past, Dickinson said. She cited examples of Texas, Georgia, California, Colorado, where water-efficiency regulations have already been enacted.  

Want to Get Involved? Here’s How…

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) is accepting new members.

The AWE is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to the sustainable and efficient use of water in North America.

The Alliance is carving a path to a water-efficient and water-secure world, and they invite you to join this group of leading thinkers, decision-makers and pioneers.

To Join the AWE or to Learn More…
Click Here


Alliance for Water Efficiency

American Society of Civil Engineers

Estimating Workshop for Irrigation Contractors February 20, 2017 by JR Huston

Help Wanted – Irrigation Installation Foreman, Columbus (OH) Area

Environmental Management LogoEnvironmental Management, Columbus, Ohio
Experienced Landscape Irrigation Installation Foreman Needed

Help Wanted — Irrigation Installation Foreman needed for installing and maintaining underground irrigation systems for both residential and commercial clients according to EMI standard operating procedures.

Position requires previous irrigation experience and/or electrical experience.  Foreman works in cooperation with Landscape Design/Sales, Landscape Division Operations Manager, with quality and customer satisfaction as top priority.

Communicates and resolves all issues related to installation to ensure the installation meets the specifications of the design and client.  Able to properly maintain and complete daily paperwork needed to report service activities to customers and EMI administration.  Able and willing to communicate with customer when needed.

Position may require working off hours and weekends to service residential clients.  Must be available to work extended hours, weekends and during inclement weather.

The employee must provide leadership and work direction for Irrigation Crew Laborers.  They are responsible for vehicle operation, equipment operation and adherence to EMI established safety procedures.

Salary based on experience, ranging from $17.00 to $25.00 an hour

For more information on available career opportunities, please call EMI Employee Services at 614.876.9988, or visit us at

About Environmental Management

Environmental Management Inc. is one of the largest landscape companies in the Columbus, Ohio, and Central Ohio areas. Environmental Management designs, builds and maintains hundreds of attractive, quality outdoor environments for both residential and commercial properties. Their experienced and hardworking professional staff provides the most comprehensive array of landscape services available in today’s marketplace – and they’re dedicated to exceeding expectations, everyday!