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Think Beyond Water Savings When Calculating an Irrigation System’s ROI

Presumably you’ll save water and water-related costs when you install a new irrigation system. Otherwise why bother?

The decision to undertake an irrigation retrofit project is often made based on a relatively simple Years to Payback method. This method involves dividing the cost of a new system by the expected savings to find the number of years it will take to pay back the investment. There are, however, indirect savings that when added to the calculation can provide a more complete picture of the true investment return, as well as expenses to consider.

Direct Savings

  • What is the water use reduction expected from deploying a more efficient irrigation system?
  • How much more will you save by replacing high water use plants with those requiring less water?

Indirect Savings

Labor Savings

  • By selecting an advanced irrigation system that automatically adjusts watering based on climate conditions, you’ll eliminate the labor required to manually reset the irrigation schedule seasonally.
  • By selecting a system that offers centralized control from a web browser and/or mobile device, you’ll eliminate numerous site visits to adjust or check on anything, big or small.
  • You’ll lower landscape maintenance costs (weekly mowing and edging, dump fees for clippings removal and seasonal fertilization) if you eliminate high water use plants such as turf as part of your conservation efforts

Hardscape and Plant Savings

  • You’ll spend less on plant replacement cost (and will likely see improved plant health) given the precise watering delivered by a weather-based system.
  • You’ll even extend the life of asphalt, wood surfaces and other hardscape and incur less window washing expenses once you better control watering.

Additional Savings

  • With better usage monitoring and being alerted to leaks and other issues quickly, you’ll likely experience lower repair costs because problems will be identified and fixed before they turn catastrophic.
  • Your local water agency may offer a rebate toward water conservation projects such as a new irrigation controller, turf replacement or high efficiency nozzles.
  • In areas where water-use regulations or restrictions are in place, you can eliminate fees and fines owed for excess use or watering outside of appropriate water windows.
  • You’ll spend less on fertilizer due to less runoff.
  • You may even lower potential future liability from accidents due to wet surfaces.
  • You’ll be saving on the expense of higher water rates in the future (and predictions all point to higher costs for this increasingly scarce resource).

Hard to Quantify, but Oh-So-Important Environmental Factors

  • Less runoff means less pollution.
  • You’ll demonstrate corporate stewardship and help mitigate climate change.
  • Your organization may make progress toward sustainability goals and/or LEED certification.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of promoting employee pride and morale through your conservation efforts.

One final thought that most organizations don’t consider: delaying an irrigation system installation or upgrade can be costly indeed. A water conservation project delivers cash flows the day it is commissioned, so delays are inherently counterproductive.