Water Wise Tips

In our hot desert environment, it is important to remember that as much as 70% of the water you use can go towards watering your landscaping. The key is to apply just enough water for optimal plant growth and health, without over watering.

Inspect your irrigation system peroidically.  Use our checklist to look for problems.

What happens if I don't water my plants enough?
If too much water is allowed to leave the soil, your plants will not be able to extract what's left for their own use, leading to stress. This makes plants weak, and susceptible to physical damage, insect damage and disease.

What happens if I over water my plants?
More gardens are harmed by too much water than not enough. Over watering causes nutrients to be flushed away, resulting in higher fertilizer requirements. Over watering also displaces oxygen from the soil, which leads to shallow roots and a landscape that is disease prone and weed infested.

When is the best time to water?
Watering in direct sunlight actually harms your yard and plants. Water droplets on leaves are like thousands of magnifying glasses, intensifying the sun's heat and causing "scald" or "burn" damage. Evaporation is also highest during the heat of the day, resulting in less water actually reaching the plants' roots.

The ideal time for lawn and plant watering is between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. when evaporation is low, but never late in the evening. This gives the ground a chance to soak the water in and reach the root system of the plants. Watering late in the evening could possibly cause more disease and weed problems as they tend to develop more at night than during the day. If you split your irrigation times, make your second application during the early evening hours.

Some key points to remember
Create water zones by putting plants together that have similar water needs. Lawns have different water requirements than ornamental plants and trees. In addition, plants can be grouped into low, moderate and high water use areas. (Limit the number high water use plants in your landscape design, however). Each zone of plants should be irrigated according to its needs.

Since lawns and gardens should be watered in the early morning hours, a problem may not be discovered until it is too late. Test, adjust and repair your sprinkler heads and drip emitters weekly. Make sure the system is adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. Consider replacing your old time clock with one of the new smart irrigation controllers on the market, today. Once programmed, these controllers irrigate based on evapotranspiration or air temperature. There are also "soil sensors" available which control the amount of irrigation taking place. These recent irrigation innovations are designed to apply the optimal amount of water throughout the year.

How long should you run your sprinklers, and how often?
In terms of sprinkler run times, there is no one answer to fit all applications. The optimal amount of water needed varies considerably depending on your location within our service area, types of sprinklers used, amount of sun an area receives, soil type and the kind of plant being watered (lawn vs. shrubs, for example).

Ideally, each time your lawn is watered the water should soak into the ground about 6 to 8 inches. This encourages deep root growth. This principle of deep watering applies to other types of plants, as well. Trees and shrubs will require deeper watering using other types of emitters to reach their greater root depths, however. Periodically, test the soil moisture with a shovel or screwdriver. If the soil is moist throughout, you’re watering times are most likely in the ballpark. Most likely (depending on sprinkler type) this can be accomplished by watering your lawn no more than 15 minutes each day during the summer and less during the cooler months. Trees and other types of plants have different water needs, and the optimal times vary considerably based on conditions and type of plant.

Additional Conservation Tips
Here are some more tips and advice as to what customers can do to conserve water, and save money on their monthly bill.

Showers
Many of us spend 10 to 20 minutes in the shower each day. You'll save water by installing a low-flow shower head and taking shorter showers.

Toilets
Modern, efficiently designed toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Retrofitting your home or business with these "ultra low flush" toilets can save water. Additionally, a bad toilet flapper valve can cause a toilet to leak, and waste a substantial amount of water. To test for a leak, drop a little food coloring in the tank and – without flushing – see if it comes out in the bowl. If so, you probably have a leak and will need to have it repaired by a qualified repair person.

Washing your car
When you wash your car or truck, make sure the hose is equipped with a spray nozzle that shuts off when you release the handle.

Leaks
Even a small leak can waste over 1,000 gallons in a day. You can check for leaks in your plumbing by opening the lid on the water meter and noting the position of the large dial with a pen mark on the glass. Before making the mark, turn off all items that might use water (don't forget the icemaker). Check the position of the dial again in about a half hour, if it moved, you have a leak. Make sure to repair all leaking water lines and dripping faucets promptly.

Washing Machines
Washing machines use 40 or more gallons of water each time you wash a load of clothes. Remember to wash only full loads, or to set the machine for the smaller load.

Shaving, Tooth brushing
Don't leave the water running when you are shaving or brushing your teeth. The water runs straight down the drain and can add up to a lot of wasted water.

Washing Dishes
Automatic dishwashers use about 12 gallons of water per run. Make sure to wash only full loads, because it's going to use 12 gallons no matter how full it is.

More Information
There are many other ways to conserve water. Contact us if you wish to learn more.