Live the Good Life with Water Conservation
The wise use and protection of the water essential for most plants and animal life is the simple understanding of water conservation. Saving water can save the environment by helping ease the burden on water storage, purification, distribution and treatment facilities. View the water conservation pamphlet (PDF) for more information.
Conserve water and save in the following ways:
- Change wasteful habits.
- Don’t leave taps running
- Repair leaks promptly
- Use water saving devices
- Use water wisely
To develop deep, healthy root systems, plants should be watered only when the first signs of wilt occur. As the soil begins to dry out, the lawn will show a lack of moisture by lengthwise folding or rolling of blades. When the lawn shows signs of wilt, it is time to irrigate.
Over watering doesn’t allow plants to absorb irrigation water or use water efficiently. In some instances water is applied too rapidly and then lost through run-off. In other cases, like daytime watering, water is lost through evaporation.
Following these tips to help save water:
- Water your landscape infrequently but deeply. This encourages deeper root growth and a healthier lawn.
- Water once a week in the cooler months. Twice a week in hot and dry periods.
- Water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
- Don’t irrigate in the rain or if rain has occurred in the last few days.
- Avoid watering when it is windy or cold.
- Good mulch conserves soil moisture, moderates soil temperature, and reduces soil compaction. Apply 2 to 4 inches.
- Mow to a height of 3 inches in summer. Long grass blades improve heat tolerance, and reduce weeds.
- Check and repair leaking sprinkler heads. Adjust to adequately cover your landscape.
- Install a rain shut-off device. These units will automatically shut-off your irrigation system after a rain.
- Install timed sprinklers. Hoses without automatic shut-offs use 200 gallons per hour.
Calibrating or determining the rate of water your sprinkler system applies is an easy job. Try to calibrate the sprinkler system during the same time the system is normally run so that water pressures are similar. Never apply more than one inch of water per irrigation. Set time clocks on automatic sprinkler systems or timed manual systems for applying the proper amount of water.
Avoid mixing sprinkler head types. Mist-heads apply more water than impact heads. Match sprinkler heads for uniform coverage. You can use the following procedure if you have an in-ground system or a sprinkler at the end of a hose:
- Obtain several (5 to 10 straight-sided containers. Containers 3 to 6 inches in diameter work best.) Coffee cans, tuna fish cans or other containers to catch the irrigation water. If you have an in-ground system, place the containers in one zone at a time. Scatter the cans at random within the zone.
- If you use a hose-end sprinkler to water your turf, place the containers in a straight line from the sprinkler to the edge of the watering pattern. Space the containers evenly.
- Turn the water on for 15 minutes.
- Use a ruler to measure the depth of water in each container. The more precise the measurement, the better your calibration will be. In most cases, measurements to the nearest eighth of an inch (0.3 centimeters) are adequate.
- Find the average depth of water collected in the containers by adding up the depths and then dividing by the number of containers.
- To determine the irrigation rate in inches (centimeters) per hour, multiply the average depth of water by four.
Now that you know your sprinkler system irrigation rate, you can more efficiently apply water to your lawn.
Minutes to Run Each Zone
|Amount of Water to be Applied||0.5 Inches of Water per Hour||1 Inch of Water per Hour||1.5 Inches of Water per Hour||2 Inches of Water per Hour|
|0.25 inches||30 minutes||15 minutes||10 minutes||8 minutes|
|0.50 inches||60 minutes||30 minutes||20 minutes||15 minutes|
|0.75 inches||90 minutes||45 minutes||30 minutes||23 minutes|
|1 inch||120 minutes||60 minutes||40 minutes||30 minutes|
To calculate use the following equation: Minutes required to run each zone equals amount of water to be applied times 60.
Don’t Lose out from Leaks
A slow drip can add up to 15 or 20 gallons per day, while a 1/16-inch faucet leak wastes one hundred gallons in 24 hours. Leak proof your property to save water.
What You Should Know About Backflow Prevention & Cross Connection
The most common Cross Connection is a garden hose connected between your drinking water and any other substance. When pressure changes your drinking water could be contaminated with backflow from the other substance. Anyone observing Cross Connections or a potential Cross-Connection or needing more information should call the Utility Department at 850-265-0087.