Texas irrigation contractors face a tough new law this summer that requires more red tape, but boosts water conservation and consumer protection.
The law, which took effect in January, requires prior approval of plans and inspection of residential lawn sprinkler systems. In the past, home systems could be installed with just a permit and a required device to protect the drinking water supply from irrigation contamination.
“It’s almost increased the cost of a residential system by 35 to 40 percent because of the leg work that the irrigator has to do before,” said David Coleman with Parkway Landscape in Dallas. “They have to come out to the site, measure the site and do an actual design.”
Coleman said some people who expected to pay what their neighbors paid in the past have declined to install sprinklers this summer.
“Some customers that haven’t heard about this yet, they’re really shocked,” Coleman said.
The law is intended to promote water conservation with properly designed irrigation systems. Supporters say it also promotes consumer protection with requirements for licensed irrigation contractors.
“I think that there are more good points to it than bad points,” said Carlos Ochoa with AAA Sprinklers in Dallas. “We have a lot more work, but it’s safer for everybody.”
The city of Dallas has trained inspectors at four building inspection substations to enforce the new rules.