Irrigation Submeter Specification?

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    Dustin Maxam, RLA

    Anyone have a good spec. for an irrigation Sub-meter?

    Here is what the local ordinance (California) is requiring:

    A separate submeter shall be located on the private side of the water system and is plumbed to measure all water that flows only through the irrigation system. This meter is to be used by the owner to monitor irrigation water use and will not be read by the City.

    Needed for a Subdivision of Single Family Residences… Each house gets one. (5/8 or 1″ meter at POC)



    Nanny state rule!    

    I often wonder if those who make the rules such as this actually know what they are seeking to achieve. 

    And a better question is how will the home owner know if the water used is appropriate or too much ?  

    Are you, the RLA, going to tell them how much is enough based on MAWA, or will you rely on an algorithm in the smart controller to decide for you ?  Or worse, is the homeowner supposed to go watch the use after each station run and determine the time up and down ?  

    Water meters are not the way to monitor use in small scale applications.

    While probably out of your control, a way better option is to use a flow sensor to monitor use and flow rates attached to a smart controller that can use real-time local weather data to establish the ETo rates for the day.

    The easiest solution for the submeter however is to use the ordinance for your spec.

    BTW, what city is this for?

    Tyson Carroll

    Is water provided by the city or a private utility company? You will have to spec whatever they require for an additional service. Contractor will have to install it per there standards. Indicate on the irrigation plans the size that is required and refer to city or private utility company’s standards and specs for installation. 

    Dustin Maxam, RLA

    Thanks for the help/ comments!  Here is the product spec I ended up using:


    NETAFIM WM-100-1.0-RS-M

    Dustin Maxam, RLA

    Toby – I totally agree with your comments.  This was for Santa Rosa, CA  – I believe the Sub-Meter is a way of not requiring a separate City Meter for Irrigation.  California’s Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB 1881 only recommends (§ 492.7) dedicated meters for landscapes smaller than 5,000 square feet – so this must be the city’s attempt to comply w/ the recommendation?


    § 492.7  Irrigation Design Plan “…(A) Dedicated landscape water meters are highly recommended on landscape areas smaller than 5,000…”

    The word ‘recommended’ is not absolute.

    Smart controllers (B) and flow sensors (G) are required.

    I’d skip the meter in your specs.  At worst the city will tell you to include, but you can argue over the definition of a word that is suggestive.  pages 13 and 14

    Dustin Maxam, RLA

    Yeah, thanks.  It was the City plan check that required it in the first place… Local ordinance is stricter that state model.

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