Summer is approaching, which means most residents are turning on (or turning up) their irrigation systems. Adopting water efficient habits is essential to maintaining the community’s water supply, especially during peak use. Below are suggestions to help improve your irrigation efficiency and still maintain a healthy lawn and landscape.
REDUCE DEMAND. Use native plants in your landscape. They require less care and water than ornamental varieties. Further, apply mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation.
LESS IS MORE. If you step on your lawn and the grass springs back, it does not need to be watered. Watering plants too much (and too frequently) results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease, and fungus.
LOOK FOR THE LABEL. WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers act like a thermostat for your sprinkler system, telling it when to turn on and off using local weather data. WaterSense labeled controllers can help you save water, time, and money when compared to use of a conventional controller.
SEASONS CHANGE, SO SHOULD YOUR SYSTEM. Familiarize yourself with the settings on your irrigation controller and adjust the watering schedule regularly (if you haven’t upgraded to a weather-based controller) to conform to seasonal weather conditions.
PLAY “ZONE” DEFENSE. Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system to account for the type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and the soil type for the specific area. The same watering schedule rarely applies to all zones in the system.
MAKE IT A DATE. Inspect your irrigation system monthly. Check for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and other problems, or engage an irrigation professional to regularly check your system. Clean micro-irrigation filters as needed.
GET YOUR HEAD ADJUSTED. Correct obstructions in sprinkler heads that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly and direct spray to avoid water off pavement and structures.
CHECK FOR WATERSENSE! A certified irrigation professional can design, install, maintain, or audit your system to ensure optimal efficiency using the proper amount of water to maintain a healthy landscape. Ask if your irrigation contractor has been certified by a WaterSense labeled program, a mark of distinction that means he or she has been certified by a program that focuses on water efficiency.
FLIP TO A SWITCH. Rain shutoff switches turn off your system in rainy weather and help compensate for natural rainfall. This inexpensive device can be retrofitted to almost any system.
EASY DOES IT. Install low-volume micro-irrigation for gardens, trees, and shrubs. Micro-irrigation includes drip (also known as trickle), micro-spray jets, micro-sprinklers, or bubbler irrigation to irrigate slowly and minimize evaporation, runoff, and overspray.
WATCH THE CLOCK. Water when the sun is low or down, winds are calm, and temperatures are cool to reduce evaporation. You can lose as much as 30 percent of water to evaporation by watering when it’s hot and sunny.
Information in this week’s Conservation Corner comes from the EPA’s WaterSense publication.
For questions or additional information, please contact Municipal Services at 209-668-5590 or visit the City’s website at www.CityofTurlock.org. Brought to you by the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department.
WATER CONSERVATION TIP #99
Excessive Water Use Penalty: Effective May 1, a $25 penalty will be assessed for monthly water use over 40,000 gallons. Penalty will be reflected on June utility bill. Visit the City of Turlock’s website for more information at: http://ci.turlock.ca.us/watersewergarbageservice/waterconservation/onlinewaterconservationcourse.asp