As the summer heat rises, Upper Trinity Regional Water District (Upper Trinity) is encouraging residents to water their yards more efficiently during Smart Irrigation Month in July. Watering effectively and only when needed allows residents to maintain their beautiful lawns and gardens while helping them to better manage their water bill.
Experts estimate that as much as half of water used for outdoor irrigation is wasted due to evaporation or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems. Making a few small changes can make a big difference in the amount of water residents can save outdoors this summer!
Here are a few tips on how to water your yard more efficiently:
- Turn on your sprinkler system for a few minutes to check for clogged, broken, or missing sprinkler heads and/or nozzles. One broken sprinkler head can waste up to 10 gallons per minute, and greatly affects the performance of the other heads in that zone – the yard suffers as a result! Replacing sprinkler heads or nozzles can be quick and easy; or, you can find a nearby Recognized Green Professional to do the work for you by visiting savetarrantwater.com/directory.
- Does your yard have a “runoff” problem? Our North Texas soils tend to prevent water from infiltrating quickly, which can cause excess water to flow down the street. Keep that water on your yard with the ‘Cycle and Soak’ method. Break up your watering times to six- to eight-minute cycles, then allow at least an hour for the water to soak in before you start the next cycle. Newer controllers may have this feature built in.
- Are you watering the driveway, house, or sidewalk instead of your yard? Simply turn the nozzle by hand to redirect sprinklers to apply water only to the landscape.
- Sign up for weekly lawn watering recommendations (provided in minutes of runtime) from WaterMyYard.org to know when to water and when to wait. In 2019, ‘Water My Yard’ recommended watering only 18 weeks of the entire year!
- Watering more than twice per week is not needed, even during the hottest times of the year. Watering twice a week or less encourages the roots of plants to go deeper to find water, resulting in more drought-tolerant plants. Many cities have watering day schedules based on where you live, so check with your utility to find out which days you can water.
- Avoid watering between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or on windy days, as most of the irrigation water will be lost to evaporation. Many cities even have ordinances not allowing watering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Watering in the early morning hours when it is coolest is the best way to go.
- Update your irrigation system with a WaterSense labeled smart controller, and other parts such as pressure-regulated sprinkler bodies and multi-stream nozzles. To learn more about WaterSense labeled products, visit epa.gov/watersense.
- Rain and freeze sensors can help you save water by turning off your sprinklers during and after a rain event.
- Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water your foundation, flower beds and garden areas in order to deliver the water precisely where you want it. Drip irrigation is much more efficient than typical spray heads and loses much less water to evaporation.
Blake Alldredge is the water education coordinator for the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.