The Center for Irrigation Technology held a recent workshop on pump efficiency. Education Manager Bill Green says one simple add-on can make a huge difference in monitoring a well pump.
Green says a flow meter attached to your pump tracks the water flow in several different ways and works a lot like the dashboard on your car. Not only can you see how fast you are going, but it also tells you how far you have gone. Being a small grower himself, Green says he checks his flow meters all the time. CIT’s workshop focused on showing the field workers what to look for on a pump that is operating inefficiently and recommending that flow meters are an easy upgrade for a reliable red-flag to things changing. The drought in California is causing water basin levels to change very quickly, especially during prime irrigation season, and Green says that can change a pump efficiency quickly. Green showed attendees how manufacturers give every pump an operating curve on a scale. The further the metrics get away from that curve equals a change in price a grower is paying to operate the pump, and most of the time that number increases. A flow meter can warn operators as their metrics stray from that curve, alerting growers that something is wrong before they see a huge power bill spike.