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Irrigation is all about getting the right amount of water where you need it, when you need it. A well-designed irrigation system can reduce water usage by watering more efficiently. There are two basic types of Irrigation, sprinklers and drip. Sprinklers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit your project. Matching the right sprinkler to your application is essential. Drip irrigation is designed for lower pressure applications and longer run times. Many people think of drip irrigation being small scale as in shrubs and gardens. Drip technology is used extensively in agricultural applications.

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There are some great resources available on the web for irrigation.  Here are examples of some helpful links:

Types of Irrigation

Micro Drip

This type of irrigation is over 90% efficient with minimal loss due to evaporation and little effect by wind. Used for areas such as garden beds, pots, and containers.

Micro Spray

Not as effective as drip but designed to be run on the same zones and in the same locations as drip irrigation. Used for shrubs and gardens.


The picture above has a rotor (single stream that rotates) and a spray on the right. These sprinklers are in the range of 70% to 80% efficiency and are more susceptible to evaporation and environmental affects such as wind. These are still the only way to water turf.


A "Rain Gun" is an example for a larger agricultural application, while drip tape would be ideal for row crops.

Anatomy of an Irrigation System

Basic anatomy of an irrigation system

Main Supply (Source)

This is either a municipal water supply or a well (Gulf Islands, rural). The water source will have a capacity in both gallons per minute (GPM) and pressure (PSI) and an irrigation system must suit the capacity of the supply. In the case of a municipal connection you will need to connect on the private water service line side and must be connected with a double check back flow preventer. BC Building code requires a permit to make this connection and it must be done by a qualified backflow installer.

Main Line

The main line is under constant pressure and needs to be constructed of high quality piping and associated fittings. The types of pipe used for main lines include:

  • Municipal Polyethylene
  • PVC Schedule 40
  • PEX


The main line is connected to a manifold. A manifold is a pipe or chamber that has a number of opening. In an irrigation system there will be one opening for each valve/ zone.


The laterals are only under pressure when you are watering/valve is open. As there is less strain a less expensive pipe is normally used. These pipes are:

  • Blu-Lock (an associated push fit fittings)
  • PVC Class 200
  • Prime Polyethylene

    Irrigation Controllers

    There are a large number of controllers available in the market. The sophistication ranges from single zone battery timers that can be used in places without power to systems that are connected to the internet and control dozens of sprinkler zones. Typical residential controllers control from 4 to 16 zones and have a variety of features. Drop by, and we will help you choose a controller that is right for you.