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FLOMEC® QS200 Helps the City of Irvine Prevent Thousands of Dollars a Year in Lost Water Costs

FLOMEC® QS200 Helps the City of Irvine Prevent Thousands of Dollars a Year in Lost Water Costs

With its low flow capability and extended leak detection down to 0.1fps, the QS200 uncovered an irrigation system leak previously undetected by a nutating disc utility meter


Quail Hills is a sub-division of the City of Irvine, California. Irvine is a master-planned city in Orange County, California, which is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The 66-square-mile city has a population of 276,000. All streets have landscaping allowances. Rights-of-way for power lines also serve as bicycle corridors, parks and greenbelts to tie together ecological preserves. The city irrigates the greenery with reclaimed water. As with every municipality in California, saving water is a critical part of the city's budget.


The Irrigation Field Supervisor at Villa Park Landscape was overseeing a retrofit replacement of a Data Industrial Impeller Flow Sensor with a QS200 Insertion Ultrasonic Flowmeter at the Quail Hills Commons Park in Irvine, California.

The team began by estimating the expected flow rate in the test zone by counting the number of sprinkler heads. For this zone, the estimated flow rate was 70 GPM. This was pretty close to the actual flow rate measured by the QS200 at 73.3 GPM. After the test, the master valve was shut off. However, the controller was displaying a flow rate of 0.3 GPM. This suggested a leak in the system, on the city side of the water line. The 2" utility water meter did not indicate any flow because this is below the threshold of its measurement capability.


The next step was to manually close the master valve to make sure it was not leaking. Upon doing this, the controller displayed a flow rate of 0 GPM. The obvious conclusion was that the master valve was leaking. This is not a rare occurrence and accounts for a lot of wasted water in commercial irrigation systems. In this case, 0.3 GPM translates to the following water volumes over time: 18 gallons every hour, 432 gallons over 24 hours, 12,960 gallons in a month, and 157,680 gallons over a one year. That's an enormous waste of water if undetected.


The QS200 is an ultrasonic flow meter with no moving parts. Because of this, there is no mechanical friction, allowing it to measure much lower flow rates than mechanical impeller meters. The impeller in these meters must see a minimum flow rate such that the impeller will overcome friction and start moving in order to sense flow. This minimum flow rate is usually well above 1 GPM in a 2" line.


This is just one example of how the QS200 can detect very small leaks that most mechanical meters are not able to detect. Detecting these small leaks can save a lot of water and money over time. In the case of the City of Irvine, it is estimated that discovering the leaking master valve and replacing it will save thousands of dollars a year in lost water costs.

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