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CDD Irrigation High Flow Rates Exceed Design Limits

The Forest Creek CDD Irrigation Pump System emails warnings when flow rates exceed design limits.  While these warnings have indicated line breaks in the past, the recent batch of warnings were not caused by a line break.  This is disconcerting because the frequency of non-line break high flow warnings is increasing in number and indicate increasing risk of rising repair expense and potentially unplanned replacement costs.  A probable cause for excessive flow rates is because too many residents are watering at the same time.  This occurs when residents are either watering on the wrong days (every resident is allowed to water only two times per week and the address determines which days – click here for the CDD Irrigation Policy) or residents are watering on the correct day but too many start at the same time of day which may require some sort of recommended staggered timing plan.

Below is a warning sent early morning on September 28th.

Message from Site ID# 5237
Site Name: Forest Creek Reuse
Event Time: Sat Sep 28 04:05:05 EDT 2019
Event ID: 68

A High Flow Rate Warning has occurred. The total gallons per minute has exceeded the design flow rate of the system. Possible causes include; mainline break, lateral line break, valves stuck open, improper zone scheduling.

This warning was not because of a line break and is disconcerting because the frequency of non-line break warnings is increasing in number and frequency and indicate increasing risk of rising repair and unplanned replacement costs.

Forest Creek CDD Irrigation System

The irrigation distribution pumps are currently 15 years old and according to the Reserve Study done by Reserve Advisors Inc., the distribution pumps should have a 30-year lifespan with regular inspections and proper operation. The study predicts pump partial replacements beginning in 2029 to ensure the predicted 30-year lifespan.  Pump replacement expenses prior to 2029 would be a significant stress to the operating budget.

The district irrigation system consists of

  • Three main distribution pumps to pull water from pond 3 and deliver to residents and the district common areas for irrigation
  • Deep well pump to maintain pond 3 (main lake) level
  • 110 common area watering zones and associated controllers
  • Miles of underground irrigation distribution lines and associated valves and wiring throughout Forest Creek

Irrigation System Expense

The irrigation system expense is increasing over the past few years and was $82,141.25 over the last 13 months, over 95% due to repairs.

If the distribution pumps required replacement today it would cost over $200,000.  So, it is imperative to operate the irrigation system to meet its expected lifespan and reduce annual repairs. The expense and early replacement risk are of concern and needs every resident’s help to mitigate.

Causes of excessive flow rates

Excessive flow rates occur because too many residents are watering at the same time.  This occurs when residents are either watering on the wrong days (every resident is allowed to water only two times per week and the address determines which days – see below) or residents are watering on the correct day but too many start at the same time of day which may require some sort of recommended staggered timing plan.

What can be done

  1. Irrigate on the correct day and times:

Residents should ensure their irrigation follows the district irrigation policy which can be found at https://www.forestcreekcdd.org/about/irrigation-system/ and is summarized below.

  • Even address residents on Thursdays and Sundays *
  • Odd address residents on Wednesdays and Saturdays *
  • Common areas on Tuesdays and Fridays *
  • Residential testing only on Saturdays and Tuesdays (all day)
  • Days are set by Manatee County Ordinance and allowed time window is 7 pm to 10 am set by CDD policy.

Residential irrigation controllers are located either inside the garage or outside mounted on an exterior wall.  Also, ensure your rain sensor is enabled on the controller.  Rainbird controller manuals can be found on https://www.rainbird.com/homeowners/products/timers-controllers/support.  If you are not sure if your controller is set correctly, please ask a neighbor for assistance.

2. Waste Not, Want Not

The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often—much of it runs off and is never absorbed. If it is running into the gutter, it’s probably irrigating too long.  If it is hitting the street, driveway or sidewalk then heads need adjusting.  A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water, not a fine mist, to minimize evaporation and wind drift. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. In fact, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed. You can determine when your grass needs water when:

  • Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
  • Grass blades appear blue-gray.
  • Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.

More information about irrigation can be found here:

Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Handbook” and “Watering your Florida Lawn

3. Watch the Clock

Ensure your irrigation controller is set to the correct time.  Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.—when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Watering in the evening isn’t a good idea either because grass can remain wet overnight—an open invitation for fungus to grow. By watering in the morning, you give the grass a chance to dry out during the day.

4. Adjust your irrigation system as the seasons and weather change.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months.

5. Do Routine Inspections

Periodically check your controller, valves and sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly.

 

In Summary, to protect and preserve our irrigation system needs every resident to water on the right days, at the right times for the correct duration.

Thank you for your support.

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