Water Wise

This article was published by MUD#18 on their website in 2011 but is still valid today.

 

The summer of 2011, with its recording breaking heat and drought, has taken a toll on  lawns and landscapes.  We have been on water restrictions for five consecutive months.  During this time many homeowners had their irrigation systems inspected, repaired and improved for efficient operation.  If you have not done so, it is not too late.  Since grass and shrubbery are mostly dormant during fall and winter, we can cut back on our lawn irrigation.  Because the long range forecast is for the drought to continue, all homeowners are encouraged to water lawns and plants mindfully during the cooler months to prepare them for a hot summer in 2011.  Too often, we over water thus encouraging shallow root systems which cannot tolerate extreme cold or drought conditions.  Overwatering also sends large amounts of wasted run-off down the street and into the storm drains - a waste of our precious water supply and needless cost to you.

The following tips can be helpful in keeping your lawn healthy, doing your part for water conservation and saving you money:

  1.  When purchasing plants, choose mainly native varieties that require less watering during the summer months.  When replacing plants lost in winter freezes and/or the summer drought, choose drought resistant plants.  You can find a table of Drought Resistant Shrubs under the "Documents" tab on our website. Or visit http://texassuperstar.com/
  2.  Water deeply versus frequently.  Healthy and properly irrigated lawns require no more than one inch of water per week during the summer months, less in the cooler months.  During cooler seasons, try watering once a week or every 4th day.  During January, you do not need to water at all. 
  3. Adjust your sprinkler cycle times to fit the absorption rate of the soil in your yard. If you notice that your system is creating run-off, your lawn has reached its absorption capacity.  Either reduce your times or try 2 short cycles instead of one long one.  This allows our clay-based soil to absorb the water rather than the excess just running off.
  4.  If you can have your shrubs and lawn in different zones, shrubs can be watered less often than your lawn, saving water and money.
  5. Individually adjust your sprinkler heads so there is no overlap or overspray onto concrete.
  6. It’s best to water in the early morning hours (3 to 5am) for maximum effectiveness.  If you choose to install or upgrade to a new irrigation system, consider low output sprinkler heads, bubblers, or drip irrigation systems.
  7. A working rain sensor can cut 45% of water usage in one month. If you have a rain sensor, check to see if it is working.   If not, take steps to replace it or repair it.  If you do not have a sensor, consider adding one to your system.  This may be the most important step you can take to avoid watering when Mother Nature has given us rain.  And it will save you money on your water bill.
  8. Mulch in flower beds and landscape areas will help hold moisture, protect the root systems from extreme temperatures and cut down on water needed to keep plants healthy.
  9. If you will be out of town for an extended period, leave your contact information with neighbors so they can notify you if water leaks are observed on your property or if your irrigation system needs attention. Or you may choose to contract with a service to deal with these issues while you are away.
  10. Report any suspicious excess water run-off to the effected property owner. It may be a leak that needs attention. You will save your neighbor dollars in their bill and help the community save water.

In Bentwater, 75% to 80% of our water usage is through our irrigation systems.    Your monthly bill from MUD 18 provides information on your usage. Do you know where you are on the “water chart”?  Within the community, are you a light or a heavy water user? 

Challenge: Set goals to reduce your lawn irrigation.  Track your progress using data on your water bill.  Doing so may save you money.

We (MUD#18) encourage everyone to be mindful of reducing your water usage as we meet the challenge of long term supply.