The installation of Arad Group hydrometers has drastically reduced the number of leaks and water loss at the University of Utah campus, according to an article published in the October 2013 issue of Irrigation & Green Industry magazine.
The 1,700-acre campus in Salt Lake City is equipped with irrigation components that were installed about 50 years ago. Massive construction works on the site resulted in many instances of accidentally broken lines and water leaks.
“Our goal was to monitor water usage at every zone in real time, day or night,” Elven Webb, irrigation foreman at the University of Utah, told the magazine. “It’s a priority to detect high or low flows and to know immediately if there is a leak or break anywhere on the campus.”
Webb, who oversees more than 500 hydro-zones with more than 12,000 sprinkler heads on nearly 1,100 landscaped acres, said that at first he thought he would need multiple devices (flow sensor, master valve and pressure regulator). After consulting with his local distributor, he decided to try Arad’s hydrometer, marketed in the United States by Netafim USA, which combines water meter, master valve, flow sensor and pressure-regulating valve.
The article said that the installation of 160 hydrometers represented a real challenge as over the years many pipes had changed and needed “straightening,” with some of them having 90 degree elbows. To solve this problem, Arad’s hydrometers have a “straightening vane” that allows a direct connection from pipe to hydrometer anywhere in the system.
“This feature alone was a deal maker, especially on a campus with ‘vintage’ installations,” Web was quoted as saying.
Arad’s hydrometer was a perfect solution because if it detects an unusually high or low flow rate, it sends an alert to the controller. If there is no response, the hydrometer automatically shuts down the problematic valve, preventing flooding and site damage.
“We now have visible, accurate, real-time water readings at zones throughout the campus,” Web concluded. “We know exactly how much water is going through the system at any time. Having the capability to automatically shut down a valve during a break or leak offers great peace of mind.”