Water agencies in San Diego County are sharing outdoor water-efficiency tips during “Smart Irrigation Month.”
July was chosen as Smart Irrigation Month in 2005 since its traditionally the month of peak demand for outdoor water use in the county. Landscape irrigation consumes 50% of the typical California home’s monthly water use.
Each year during Smart Irrigation Month, the Irrigation Association highlights the benefits of efficient irrigation and innovations promoting the wise and efficient use of water through this month-long initiative each July. Irrigation technology innovation updates and efficient irrigation techniques help preserve our water supply.
As wireless technology has improved, it has been applied to outdoor systems including irrigation. With a smart irrigation system, homeowners can control water use through smartphone apps and programmable wireless controllers. Water consumption can be monitored to quickly find and correct leaks and maximize water application.
Adopt ‘cycle and soak’ irrigation method to maximize water use
The greatest waste of water in landscape irrigation comes from watering too much, too fast. Instead of watering for 15 consecutive minutes, run sprinklers in five-minute sessions with time in between to allow water to soak into the soil and minimize runoff.
This Vallecitos Water District video illustrates how the “cycle and soak” irrigation method works.
“July is our industry’s opportunity to share its amazing stories about contributing to a sustainable world,” said Irrigation Association CEO Natasha Rankin, MBA, CAE. “By promoting smart irrigation, our industry’s experienced and committed professionals work every day to protect our world’s valuable natural resources while supporting food production and creating landscapes that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”
July is an ideal month to perform a check on current irrigation systems and determine whether any practices can be improved to save water.
The San Diego County Water Authority offers these tips:
- Select sprinkler heads and nozzles that apply water uniformly to the target area.
- Inspect your sprinkler heads regularly to make sure they are not obstructed or watering onto the pavement or other hardscapes.
- Upgrade to a smart controller. Weather and soil moisture-based controllers can automatically adjust your watering schedule based on the conditions at your location.
- Use drip or low-pressure, low-volume irrigation which applies water directly to the base or roots of plants.
- If water is applied too quickly, it can run off into the street or sidewalk. Smart irrigation regulates water pressure, ensuring water has a chance to soak into the ground.
- Less is more when watering turf. Water long enough to soak down to the root zone, then don’t water again until the soil is completely dry. If the grass springs back when you step on it, it has enough water.
- A rain shut-off device is an inexpensive gadget to add to your sprinkler system.
- Improve efficiency by watering at the coolest time of day. When it’s hot or windy, more than a third of the water can be lost to evaporation.
Find more tips and information at WaterSmartSD.org
(Editor’s Note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego region.)