Limited Water Supply

I am on a drilled well with a slow recovery rate - I pump into a 500 gallon holding tank and have a good pump (10GPM 60PSI constant pressure) to feed the house and irrigation.

I am installing an irrigation system with efficient rotator heads and want a smart controller to benefit from the evapotranspiration model and weather data. I am 50/50 between making it myself and the Rachio - the big feature the Rachio looks to be missing is a way to limit water usage so I don’t completely empty the tank. Except for two smaller zones, I will likely only be able to run one zone a day (or maybe one in the morning, one in the evening).

From what I have read, if I use the flex scheduling to take benefit of the ET weather model, it will assume it can run zones at the adjusted percent sequentially and if I rigidly schedule them so that they don’t deplete my water supply then I can’t use the weather adjustment. Anyone have thoughts on how I can make this work with my limitations? Am I misunderstanding how the flex scheduling works?

I know my setup will not be an ideal watering schedule and could stunt root growth, but it will certainly be better than no watering.

@Ebarrieau - there are basically two settings that can be used:

  1. Delay between zones:
  1. Cycle and Soak - how long a zone can run before it has to rest and how long to rest.

I can’t remember if the delay between zones is activated on cycle and soak, but I think so.

One can also wire in a float level (Normally Closed - so it opens when the low water level is reached) switch in the holding tank at the minimum water level into the Rachio as a “Rain Sensor” and it will stop watering.

At full flow with a full tank there is 50 minutes of irrigation, with nothing for the house. What is the well’s recovery rate?

Thanks for the reply. Delay between zones could work, can you set a delay specific between specific zones? I have a few main zones that will each take 300-400 gallons for 1/2" of irrigation and a few smaller zones for strips near the street and driveway that will use less and could run on the same day. It would be ideal if I could do no delay after the small zones and longer delays after the big zones.

I am more interested in using the sensor input from the tank fill level - I custom built the controller for the tank and I know, to the gallon, exactly how full it is so it would be easy for me to add an output to tell the irrigation timer to stop (this would allow me to keep a reserve for household use and wait to start the next zone until it’s full). Does the sensor input just inhibit the sprinkler output when open and continue when closed? If I program it to water in the morning and it stops because of low water and it’s recharged midday, will it start watering midday or wait until the next start time?

The recovery is around 1 GPM, but the well has 350 gallons of storage in the well casing, so first hour delivery is somewhere around 600-700 gallons with reserve to run the house. It’s basically 1400 gallons a day max capacity and the well has all sorts of sensors to monitor the well to make sure it never runs dry and it isn’t over pumped. That should be enough to run one big zone every morning and possibly another that evening.

@Ebarrieau - I believe the delay between zones is the same for all zones.

Another option would be to use the API to pause running zone documented here → Welcome

I think the sensor input would pause the watering that is running and then resume when the circuit is closed. I’m not 100% sure if the zone time keeps running while the circuit is open. I have not verified this, so YMMV.

A soak and cycle of 6 minutes with 60 minutes of rest between runs on the same zone might work too. One would need to do the math on how many zones there are. Basically every zone that needs to run would run for 6 minutes each, then the cycle would start over 60 minutes after the first zone finished. With four zones, that would be 24 minutes of running, then 42 minutes of soaking and then repeating the process until all the watering was done. One would need to know the flow rate for each zone to calculate the worst case of water usage to keep it under 1,400 gallons a day minus household usage.

FYI - Note: Smart Cycle/Cycle Soak/Well Delay is automatically disabled on zones with Drip Nozzles (Emitter, Bubbler, Mister, Drip Line)

See here for manual Cycle and Soak → Smart Cycle and manual cycle and soak features