July 5, 2012

FAQ: Irrigation Meters

Warm, dry weather has some of us concerned for our lawns, plants and gardens.  A commonly asked question of Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representatives is in regards to lawn sprinkler and irrigation systems.  Before you install a built-in irrigation system or do any watering in your yard, you should keep the following information in mind.

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) and your community’s permits department have a specific process for obtaining an irrigation meter.  The installation cost of an irrigation meter can cost $300-$500 or more, as a licensed plumber must connect lawn irrigation piping and house hose bibs to this special meter.  In Des Moines, DMWW uses the monthly readings from the irrigation meter to subtract the usage from the sewer service portion of your monthly statement.

Built-in lawn irrigation systems require the installation of a backflow device.  All area irrigation system installers are aware of this requirement.  These backflow devices must be tested annually by a certified tester.  This is a requirement of the State Public Health Department and city ordinances.  There are many certified testers in the Des Moines metro area.  Look in your phone book under the categories of backflow prevention devices, plumbing contractors or garden and lawn, for a listing of companies that install irrigation systems.  Many specifically state they have certified backflow testers.  Another helpful resource is located at: www.dmww.com/water-service/plumbers-contractors/backflow-prevention.  Here, you will find a listing of certified backflow testers in the state.

If you are interested in obtaining an irrigation meter, you must first obtain a permit for the irrigation meter and any required backflow prevention devices (listed below).  A licensed plumber must install a meter compatible with DMWW equipment.

Irrigation systems do a great job of keeping your lawn and garden green and beautiful.  These systems do require regular maintenance and adjustment to insure the right amount of water is used when it is needed.

Timing your lawn watering will also help you use water wisely.  Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with other Des Moines metro area water utilities, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program.  This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days.  Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). This watering approach reduces the peak load on our water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life.

Also, if you are considering sodding this year, the latter half of August and September is the best time to do so.  Avoiding the hot days of July and early August will save you watering costs. Let’s all use our precious water wisely!

Des Moines Residents
City of Des Moines Permit and Development Center
(515) 283-4200

Pleasant Hill Residents
Community Development Building Division
(515) 309-9461

Unincorporated Polk County Residents
Polk County Engineers
(515) 286-3705

Windsor Heights Residents
City of Windsor Heights Permit and Development Center
(515) 279-3662

Runnells, Alleman and Cumming Residents
No permit required. Deduct setting must be used. Call (515) 283-8700 to install meter reading device

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
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