by Lori Palmquist
APLD-CA BAY AREA DISTRICT
As an irrigation and water-efficiency specialist, I’ve conducted hundreds of irrigation assessments and led dozens of trainings for landscape professionals and homeowners. At a July meeting of the EBMUD Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) meeting in Oakland, I was delighted to give a presentation called "Irrigation Assessment—A Much-Needed Skill and Business Opportunity".
Landscape designers in California make water usage and application a priority when creating their designs—and many existing irrigation systems are poorly designed, installed and maintained—so why not add irrigation assessment to the services they provide?
Following is an outline of my LAC presentation, followed by a link to the materials I provided, including assessment questionnaires and sample assessments, soil texture tests and irrigation diagrams.
I told the attendees of the talk I was offering a smorgasbord of suggestions, and they could pick and choose among them or use them all together:
- how to pre-screen the client and prepare them for what to expect
- how to get site maps and other images beforehand
- how to watch for the appropriateness of the plant material as well as the irrigation
- useful tools for performing an assessment
- pre-assessment Questionnaire for clients
- site Information Sheet
- the process of assessing irrigation systems
- basic report template
- short case study
With these materials, landscape designers will be equipped to assess existing irrigation systems, collect data, make watering schedule adjustments, and recommend repairs and upgrades. It’s a great business opportunity—and a great way to preserve our precious water supply.
Lori Palmquist is a certified irrigation designer, contractor, auditor and water manager, and a web app developer for WaterWonk.