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Questions and Answers About Landscape Irrigation

Irrigation systems offer a convenient alternative to dragging hoses around and provide a more reliable water supply than just rainfall, but in order for them to provide the most benefit, they need to be designed efficiently and installed properly.

I WANT TO HAVE AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM INSTALLED. WHERE DO I START?

Irrigation systems must comply with the requirements of the International Plumbing Code and Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 344. A Building Permit, permit fee, and Irrigation System Plan are required before installation of an irrigation system. To obtain a permit for the installation of a lawn irrigation system, please contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570.


WHO MAY INSTALL AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM?

Anyone installing an irrigation system MUST meet one of the following criteria: 

  • Homeowner, installing irrigation system on their homestead property
  • A TCEQ Licensed Irrigator with valid Texas Irrigator's license
  • A Plumber, Licensed by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners
  • A licensed engineer, registered architect, or registered landscape architect, IF the work is incidental to the pursuit of the person's profession

NOTE: Effective September 1, 2011, installation of irrigation systems by an unlicensed individual (someone not covered by the list above) is a violation the Texas Occupational Code Sec. 1903.256 and may result in a Class C Misdemeanor. 


WHAT IS REQUIRED IN AN IRRIGATION PLAN?

An irrigation plan is required for all new landscape irrigation systems designed or installed on or after January 1, 2009, but is not required for the maintenance, repair, or service of irrigation systems installed before that date. The plan must be submitted to the Building Department for review and approval before the irrigation permit is issued. The irrigation plan must be drawn to scale and must include:

  • Irrigator’s seal, signature, and date sealed
  • North arrow, legend, and scale used
  • All major physical features and the boundaries of the areas to be watered
  • Design pressure for system
  • Zone flow measurements for each zone
  • Location/type of: controller and sensor (including, but not limited to, rain, moisture, wind, or freeze)
  • Location/type/size of: water source, backflow prevention device, water emission device, valves, pressure regulation component, main line and lateral piping.


WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM STATE REQUIREMENTS MY SYSTEM MUST MEET?

  • Space sprinkler heads according to the manufacturer's published radius or spacing of the device(s). For example, if a rotary spray is designed to throw water 10 feet, the spray heads cannot be more than 10 feet apart.
  • Follow manufacturer’s published specifications for minimum and maximum sprinkler head pressure and sprinkler head spacing. For example, if a head is rated for 30 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure, it cannot be operated at 80 psi.
  • All emission devices (sprinklers) on an irrigation zone must put out water at the same rate (i.e., all sprinkler heads have an application rate of 0.5 inches per hour).
  • Spray water only on landscaped areas—no spray over impervious (paved) surfaces.
  • Above-ground spray devices (pop-up sprays, rotors, etc.); must be:
    • Directed away from hard surfaces
    • Installed more than 4 inches away from hard surfaces (i.e., a sidewalk).
    • Installed only in areas wider than 4 feet that do not have paved surfaces on two or more sides
  • A rain or moisture shutoff device is required on all new irrigation systems with an automatic controller, and all replacements of automatic controllers on existing irrigation systems.
  • Install an isolation valve between the water meter and backflow prevention device.
  • Backflow prevention device, tested upon installation.

MY IRRIGATION SYSTEM IS ALMOST COMPLETE. WHAT’S NEXT?

An inspection is required upon the completion of work. When the irrigation system is complete, contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570 to schedule an inspection. The backflow prevention device must also be tested by a licensed backflow tester. For a list of independent backflow testers, please contact the Environmental Services group in Water Services at 979-764-3660.

Last updated: 5/10/2017 2:40:28 PM