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A Face Full Of Water. . .Twice

May 6, 2021

Spring is here. And with it, many of the projects suspended in the Fall are ready to start up again. Last fall, we redid our sprinkler system. It was quite an extensive remodel. We added zones. We removed a zone. We added heads and we added a hose bib. Our house has three hose bibs that use culinary water. We pay for culinary water.

We also have now two hose bibs that come off of our sprinkler system, or irrigation water. In my little town of Pleasant Grove, we don’t have to pay a per use fee for our irrigation water. Personally, I think that’s a bad plan in a desert state. The idea is that everyone in the city can use it as much as they need. The reality is that people closer to the mountains, who live on what’s called “the bench” have first access to the water. People who live at the end of the delivery pipes, sometimes go without.

I wasn’t around when the system was put in. And even though I live on the bench and never have an issue with water pressure, I still think it’s a bad idea. Even with the rule that each house can only use water three days per week, it’s a system that won’t grow easily.

We installed a hose bib off the irrigation system so that we could do hand watering of the garden without using our culinary water. (The stuff we pay a per-gallon fee on.) So, last year, while we were redoing the system, we dug a trench about 70 feet long from our existing piping to or garden. By the time we finished it, the irrigation water had been shut off for the year.

My friend who installed the sprinklers left a pipe sticking out of the ground. He gave me a faucet to attach later. Well this Spring is later. Last week I decided to install the faucet. But, first I had to know if the system was set up.

The exposed pipe had acquired a spider and some other garden detritus. SLOWLY. . .I opened the shutoff valve. . .and got a face full of irrigation water at 80 PSI. I managed to shut it off before I stumbled back and stood there dripping water all over my garden.

I laughed. What else could I do? It was funny. At least I found it funny.

Yup, clearly the system was pressurized. I had the evidence all over me.

So, I got my PVC glue and parts and assembled my faucet. I then let it dry for 24 hours before testing it again.

I made sure the faucet was turned off and again, SLOWLY opened the shutoff valve.

And the 80 PSI pressure promptly blew the faucet into the air and gave me another face full of water. Again, I managed to get it shut off and then took stock. Unlike the first time, I now had an audience. I live on a very busy corner. There was a carload of teenagers going by just as I took the waterhose to the face.

They laughed.

I laughed.

We laughed together.

Clearly when my friend had assembled the stubbed out pipe last Fall, he didn’t attach the stub to the shutoff valve. More glue and 24 hours waiting later, and I had a working faucet. No face full of water this time.

I may not learn the first time. . .

I may not learn the second time. . .

But, by the third time I’ve generally started to get a clue.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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