Anyone planning the installation, extension or upgrade of an irrigation system should think seriously about water availability and storage capabilities at the outset, stresses Nathan George, contracts manager with specialist sports turf and water engineering contractor, MJ Abbott Ltd.
"Having one's own suitably-sized and located reservoir can produce significant savings in cost and concerns over water availability in both the short and longer term," he said.
"However, experience has shown that it can take up to two years for a new reservoir to be planned and receive approval from the local authority. It is sensible, therefore, to prioritise storage when considering a new or upgraded irrigation scheme."
Nathan pointed out that many golf and sports clubs rely on mains water or year-round water abstraction from a bore hole or water course to supply an irrigation system.
Apart from the ever-rising cost of taking water from a metered mains supply, the attitude of the Environment Agency is now changing, he says, with regard to abstracting water from a river or bore hole.
"The weather extremes of recent years have resulted in the Environment Agency looking more favourably on bore holes designed for winter abstraction," he pointed out. "This means having a suitably-located storage reservoir capable of holding sufficient water until it is needed in the summer."
The most important point when planning projects, says Nathan, is to calculate maximum water requirements at an early stage and ensure that sufficient capacity is available to satisfy peak demand.
"If you've got sufficient space, then it is better to budget from the outset for the maximum possible water storage capacity," he commented. "Adding more capacity later is likely to prove both expensive and difficult."