by Dan Carney, Water Conservation Manager
What if there was a way to reduce your water use with the turn of an adjustment screw? Many households in Marin use extra water simply because the pressure regulator is set higher than it needs to be. The reason for this is based on the relationship between water pressure and water flow: When the pressure decreases the flow decreases, and vice versa. In fact, if you reduce the pressure from 100 pounds per square inch (psi) to 50 psi, the amount of water flow, measured in gallons per minute, will be reduced by about 30%.
Since the average water pressure in MMWD is 100 psi, it is a good idea to check the water pressure at your home or business. If the water pressure at your property is higher than 80 psi, a pressure regulator is required by code and must be set no higher than 60 psi.
Most faucets, showerheads, and household appliances are designed to work best at 50 psi. Higher pressure is usually unnecessary and can result in leaking gaskets and extra water going to waste. This is also true for outdoor watering systems. For example, spray sprinklers work best at 30 psi and drip irrigation systems at 20-30 psi. So unless you are irrigating a golf course, every pound of extra pressure translates into water (and money) literally blowing away in the wind.
So now that you’re convinced that water pressure is important, what can you do about it? If you are comfortable with do-it-yourself plumbing projects, there are plenty of online resources that can guide you through the process of checking and adjusting your pressure—all you need is an adjustable wrench, a pressure gauge, and a little know-how. For the rest of us, it’s probably best for a plumbing or landscape contractor to make these adjustments.
Regulating water pressure is a simple and highly effective way to conserve Marin’s most precious natural resource and help you save money too!