Exact water usage using flow

I completely and enthusiastically agree with basher519’s comments. Add gallons/minute (or hour) flow parameter in Zone definition. In addition, define a drip nozzle type which allows you to define gallons/minute (or hour) flow rate. If this nozzle is selected for zone, display a parameter for emitters per zone. Then if flow rate parameter is undefined in zone, use emitter flow rate times no. of emitters to calculate zone flow rate. Use these zone flow rates to calculate water usages.

Forcing your customers to to do manual gallons/minute to precipitation/area conversions is unnecessary when this is precisely what your software should be doing. Every nozzle in my irrigation system has gallons/hour rating. I also know the exact flow rate of each of my zones by reading our water meter. Please let me easily incorporate this information into your software so that I can get accurate water usage numbers. I live in a small California city which is in a Stage 3 Water Rationing–we are limited to about 46 gallons per person per day. Exceeding this amount results in severe fines and penalties. Most people here now use drip irrigation. For us, water usage is critical, and it appears that the Rachio could provide this information easily and with minimal changes to your software.
Please make incorporation of these features a high priority for your next release. Thanks.


Do I hear an AMEN. :innocent: Yes I believe I just did.
Love the idea, Love the concept. :wink:

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+1 on the request for incorporating GPM for each zone. It makes no sense to have the only available choice be something only irrigation enthusiasts or industry professionals are well versed with. Most ordinary folks should be able to look at their water meter and come up with 100% accurate numbers very easily.

Please include this option in your next release (hopefully not even a major release). Thanks.

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+1 to this feature

I installed mine yesterday and was looking for the same setting as I started pacing each zone and trying to measure the square footage it covers. I’d just add that it seems easier to me to just run the zone for 1-5 minutes and measure the Cubic Foot change at my meter then type that in. Yes, I realize gallons is what the app has but I’m pretty sure most water meters are in CF. So my addition to the thread would be for CF in addition to Gallons.

My water utility also has per 100 CF pricing. So it is $14.25 (5 x $2.85) for the first 500 CF, but it jumps to $124.70 (5 x $24.94) for 500 CF after you pass the 5000 CF mark. My neighbor and I just learned about that pricing zone the hard way - $3000 for him and $1650 for me in water bills. Ouch! The water company said $2000 isn’t an unusual monthly bill and they’ve seen $8000! They also said their pricing created a 40% savings in water across the utility after implementation.

Having a water budget in CF and/or Gallons. I’d determine my non-irrigation system average water usage and then subtract that from the gauge pricing (e.g. try to stay under 4000 CF). If the cost of water, as it increases exponentially each month, was included in the Flex Schedule algorithm I could choose “perfect watering” or “most cost effective watering” somehow.

Union Hill Water Association - Redmond, WA
Residential Usage Rates

0—500 cf. $ 2.85
501-1000 cf. $ 3.28
1001-2000 cf. $ 3.71
2001-4000 cf. $ 7.13
4001-5000 cf. $15.68
5000 cf + $24.94

Notice the exponential jumps? Iro can pay for itself by helping me avoid those.

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@rccoleman, please note that precip rates and usage are calculated differently. Great idea nevertheless as knowing the hit to your wallet is important.

@MumblingFumbler & @srvineet, we should be able to easily calculate your precip rate by zone using the data you have and the calculations in this support article. If you need help, please email our support team [support@rachio.com].

@brian, wow, that’s quite a large water bill! Just curious, what water company are you using?

In short, you want to be able to ration your watering for the month based on total output, correct?

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I guess you could run one zone at a time and get a meter reading and back into it to get an idea of what that zone GPM flow rate is.
What I wonder is here you have a typical 3/4" or 1" line at a given pressure running to a number of heads 8 - 12. How noticeable is the reading going to be from zone to zone?
Doing it this way.

You seem to be missing the point on several levels. The controller should do any conversions/calculations, not your customers–that’s what computers are for. It is not easy to compute the precip. rate for a drip zone because the sq. footage is not easily ascertained. EG emitters may be separated by varying length of tubing. Most accurate measurement flow rate for a zone is THE WATER METER. Second most accurate for drip is the emitter flow rate (in gallons/hour) times the number of emitters/zone.


+1 for calculating usage

I have been told by the higher authorities that they are not going to go to the GPH route on new or existing Nozzles. I tried very hard and lost the battle. :anguished:

Even for calculating usage?

I really don’t know what you mean. I go to the meter. I take a reading. I turn on zone x for y amount of time . when zone turns off, I take another reading, subtract second reading from first and divide by y–that is my flow rate. I make sure no other water is running during the read. There is virtually no variation in this method–it is very accurate, unless the zone changes in some way (eg added more emitters, or there is a leak)–then you just do a reread. Just let me put this flow rate in as a zone parameter and base the usage calculations on my flow rate. Someone else mentioned the fact that many meters use CF, not gallons. The controller should be able to handle both, and do whatever conversions necessary internally. There should be no reason to ask your customers to do manual calculations/conversions.


I fully agree with you 100%. :wink:


If that is true, then I don’t think Rachio developers/designers have a good grasp of water as a precious resource in times of climate change and drought. Their comprehensive water savings numbers become highly suspect as well. In its current incarnation, IRO would be a tough sell to our local water department, even with the WaterSense rating. As a software developer with 25 years of experience, it is very difficult for me to understand why the proposed changes can’t be implemented easily–they seem completely trivial, but of enormous benefit to customers.

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How about at a zone level? The nozzle level would be too complicated for me personally, considering the different types and variable output on my zones. So I can see how it would be hard to set this up on a nozzle level but at a zone level it should be relatively easy, even if it is just doing the sq ft/precip. calculation and storing the result as a sq ft.

Its ironic when all the municipalities at least out here in Cali are putting out literature for water conservation and recommendations on irrigation and alike and if have not once run into anything other than Gallons and Cubic measurements.
I do know that Cali is a strange state with weird and obscure guidelines when it comes to codes.
But if this is the norm wait till they try to penetrate the UK and have to deal in Metrics and Liters. :wink:

Quick question regarding using custom nozzles for my zones that I calculated from the actual meter GPM. Should I also now set the efficiency under the Advanced settings in my zones to 100%?

@jchapman, good question. Efficiency is best calculated by performing a catch cup test. We set defaults based on the type of nozzle you’re using. Efficiency (aka distribution uniformity), is used as a multiplier to determine the duration for watering times on a zone by zone level. The lower the efficiency, the less efficient the distribution, and thus the longer the duration must be as more water must be applied to meet the minimum watering requirement. For more information, please see this support article on advanced zone settings.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

@emil Yes, stay under the price jumps. I can just shut off my irrigation after reading the meter manually. The magic of software could instead recommend a greenest per dollar Flex schedule. The $300-400 a month lawn (high summer) versus $1600.

@emil I live near Seattle and can only use a private large well water company - Union Hill Water Association. They reduced consumption by jacking the prices. They also pay for the $10M storage tanks with the revenue. It would seem Rachio could partner with companies like this. If they need to reduce consumption give rebates on Iro’s but they don’t sadly.


I just completed gathering CF per minute per zone and converting and inputting as custom nozzles. It took me 2.5 hours total. About 45 to run the sprinklers for 2 minutes per zone (16 zones) and write down the before and after meter measurements. About an hour to build the spreadsheet and double check the calculations. About 30 minutes to input into the web UX.

I had walked and wrote some best-guesses on square feet per zone prior and I decided they probably weren’t accurate so I reset all zones to 1000.

If I’m using 1000 and calculating PR based on actual GPM measured at the meter, how important is an accurate square foot measurement for the zone?

I entered the nozzle type wrong when making custom nozzles a couple times - wasn’t sure if this mattered so created a duplicate and fixed the nozzle type. I also got off by a line in my spreadsheet so entered the wrong PR into the wrong custom nozzle. This sucked and I’m still not sure I got it all correct.

Why can’t we delete custom nozzles in web or mobile UI?

Also, when creating a custom nozzle in the web UI after you are done it doesn’t apply that nozzle to the Zone - I think it is safe to assume when I have the Zone open I want to apply it there. It would remove a step for customers to presume this in code.

Sorting seems random in the dropdown with fixed zones and custom nozzles intermixed and not even alphabetized. Please alphabetize or sort in a better way (you probably want the OOB nozzles to reamain at the top).

Here is a clip from the spreadsheet - hopefully the PRs are right and I applied them correctly to my zones.

I ran out of time to test a zone again at the meter and see what the app says for gallons of water yet - so I’m not sure how accurate it is.

Overall, I think having a field in the Zone that says “CF per minute” would save lots of time and be less error prone (if it indeed removes the necessity of the square footage measurement and the PR calculations).

I’ve still haven’t run the Rachio Iro Flex Schedule on my lawn yet - because I’m at sky-high pricing still until 8/1. I also wanted to calculate how much the Flex Schedule will cost me. My spreadsheet gives me an ability to do that now since I can view the Flex schedule and see the minutes in each Zone it intends to do (even with the Iro in standby).

BTW, the neighbors still think it is crazy-cool that I’m standing outside in my yard with my phone and firing up sprinkler zones. :smile: