What should the Consumer Know?

Licensed Irrigator

The State of Texas requires a licensed irrigator (LI) or an exempted individual to sell, design, install, maintain, alter, repair, service or inspect an irrigation system – or consult in these activities. This person has proven competency in proper protection of the potable water supply, hydraulic pipe sizing, head spacing, economic efficiency, and other aspects of the irrigation system, through a thorough testing procedure. The SAIA recommends, and state law requires that you deal only with a state licensed irrigator. You should ask for the contractor’s license number. It should be posted on all vehicles, proposals, plans and contracts. In the State of Texas, contractor license numbers always begin with the letters L I.

Contracts

All contracts to install an irrigation system must be in writing and signed by each party and must specify the irrigator’s name, license number, business address, current business telephone numbers, the date that each party signed the agreement, the total agreed price, and must contain the statement, “Irrigation in Texas is regulated by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), MC-178, P.O. Box 13078, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. TCEQ’s website is www.tceq.state.tx.us. All contracts must include the irrigator’s seal, signature, and date.
Warranty On all installations of new irrigation systems, an irrigator shall present the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative with a written warranty covering materials and labor furnished in the new installation of the irrigation system. The irrigator shall be responsible for adhering to the terms of the warranty. Refer to the TCEQ’s website regarding warranty on all maintenance, alterations, repairs, or service to existing irrigation systems.

Design

State Law requires that irrigators prepare an irrigation plan for all irrigation systems. A paper or electronic copy of the plan must be on the job-site at all times during the installation of the irrigation system. A drawing showing the actual installation of the irrigation system must be given to the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative upon the completion of the irrigation system installation. Variances may be made from the original plan if the irrigator authorizes changes that do not diminish the operation integrity of the irrigation system; do not violate any state or local requirements; and are noted in red on the irrigation plan. The irrigation plan must include complete coverage of the area or clearly identify areas that are not covered.

Local Codes

Each municipality in the San Antonio area has it's own codes and ordinances for irrigation system installation. Make sure your contract includes all of the necessary permits and required potable water protection devices. These codes are in place to protect you and to provide a check system.

Equipment

There are many good brands of irrigation equipment available. Most all feature water saving benefits and easy operation. Ask your irrigation professional for samples and literature of the irrigation equipment. Have your irrigation professional explain the pros and cons of each. This will help you with an educated decision and understand in more detail about the irrigation system’s operation and features.

Lowest Bid

Should you take the lowest bid? Statistically, the lowest bid is not always the least expensive in the end. In an attempt to save money, poor service or installation may cost more in the future by having to replace or rebuild a poorly designed and/ or poorly installed irrigation system. In fact, it may cost you more than you saved. Remember, you are installing an investment for you and your landscape to benefit from. It must be done correctly the first time.

You will buy the irrigation system once, but you will buy the water every month…