With rainy conditions expected this week and cooler, shorter fall days on the way, the San Diego County Water Authority is reminding homeowners, gardeners, landscape contractors and facility managers to adjust their irrigation controllers to reduce water waste.
Outdoor water use accounts for more than half of a typical household’s water use in California. Making seasonal adjustments to irrigation controllers can help lower water bills, manage regional water demands and lead to healthier landscapes. Following are some tips for enhancing water efficiency:
- Adjust irrigation controllers to cut back on watering days and times. Check with your local water agency to comply with any winter watering restrictions in your area.
- Check your irrigation controller to make sure it was not affected by the September 8 power outage. Many irrigation controllers default to more frequent watering schedules if they lose power.
- Turn off irrigation systems in advance of local rainstorms. Irrigation systems can remain off for a week or more following major storms.
- Consider upgrading to a weather-based irrigation controller that automatically adjusts to weather conditions.
- Keep fresh batteries in your irrigation controller. A good rule of thumb is to check the batteries twice a year at the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time. (Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 6.)
- Check your irrigation system for leaks, over sprayed areas or other problems, and fix them promptly.
- Consider getting help to evaluate the performance of your irrigation system. For easy-to-use irrigation scheduling assistance, use the city of San Diego’s online Watering Calculator at http://apps.sandiego.gov/landcalc/start.do. Or consider requesting a WaterSmart evaluation for either single-family homes or commercial landscapes – a free service from participating water agencies. Please visit http://20gallonchallenge.com/programs_residential.html#residential-eval for more information. WaterSmart evaluations provide recommendations for improving water use efficiency, such as fixing leaks, upgrading hardware and even replanting little-used turf areas with climate appropriate plants.
- Fall also is an ideal time for replacing water-intensive landscapes with more water-efficient “WaterSmart” landscapes that feature best practices in design, irrigation, plant choices and maintenance. The Water Authority’s free publication, “A Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape,” offers step-by-step instructions on how to plan, design, install and maintain a WaterSmart landscape. The guide is available as an online flipbook at www.sdcwa.org/landscape-guide. Homeowners can also get ideas for beautiful, water-efficient landscapes by visiting the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College (http://www.thegarden.org/) or the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas (http://www.sdbgarden.org/).
Additional information on water conservation programs is available at www.20gallonchallenge.com.