Fall’s Cool Temperatures and Shorter Days Mean Less Outdoor Watering

Short Title
Fall’s Cool Temperatures and Shorter Days Mean Less Outdoor Watering
Water Authority urges reduction in fall landscape watering
September 25, 2008

The fall season brings cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours. It also means lawns and gardens require less water.

As part of its ongoing campaign to reduce water use in the region, the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are urging residents, businesses and public agencies, as well as gardeners and landscape contractors, to begin reducing the frequency and duration of watering times for residential and commercial irrigation systems.

“Although the hot summer months are behind us, the need to increase our water saving efforts has not cooled off,” said Water Authority Board Chair Fern Steiner. “Our water supply situation continues to deteriorate from drought and because water deliveries from Northern California have been cut further by court order. If the present situation continues, mandatory water cutbacks could be imposed.”

The region’s water supplies have been impacted by extremely dry conditions and court-ordered pumping restrictions in the Bay-Delta. These factors have significantly reduced storage in key reservoirs around the state. As of September 2008, the three largest State Water Project reservoirs are less than one-third of capacity, a collective all-time low.

More than half of all residential water use in San Diego County is used outdoors, so cutting back on outdoor watering is critical to reducing our region’s overall water use. Reducing water use during this time of year is also recommended by gardening experts. Over-watering occurs mostly during the fall season and can be as damaging to vegetation as under-watering.

The Water Authority recommends these fall watering tips:

    •    Homeowners should begin reducing watering schedules, cutting back from three days per week to less often as temperatures and daylight hours decrease.
    •    Irrigation systems programmed for summer watering schedules should be altered to immediately reduce irrigation cycles by 1-3 minutes. Irrigations systems should be turned off during rainy weather and should remain off for three to seven days depending on the amount of rainfall.
    •    Water only in the evening or early morning, between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. when there is less wind and evaporation.
    •    Check for and repair irrigation system leaks, breaks and misaligned sprinkler heads to ensure that irrigation systems operate at peak efficiency.
    •    Use the Landscape Calculator (http://apps.sandiego.gov/landcalc/) to determine landscape watering requirements.
    •    Replace the batteries in irrigation controllers twice a year. If the batteries fail, irrigation systems will over-water, often without the homeowner aware of it.

The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer a variety of water-saving incentives and programs, including free landscape surveys and rebates on synthetic turf, sprinkler heads, smart irrigation controllers, and high-efficiency clothes washers and toilets. Rebates are also available for businesses, commercial properties and multi-family dwellings. For a complete list of rebates and water-saving tips, visit www.20gallonchallenge.com or contact your water agency.

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