Save Water Save $$$

Well, are we out of the drought?
 Will we continue to focus on water conservation?

The truth is: ‘THEY’ are going to charge us more money for the water we use,
 WHATEVER  we do!

Here are some steps we implemented at our place and it saved us 27-35% in water consumption per month. Our lawns, flower beds and trees are thriving, even in the 100 + degree summer weather and we remain in compliance with all of the 2014 drought regulations.

Step #1:  Make a decision, commit to a course of action.
  Do I like my landscaping or not?

Step #2: What kind, California lawn, trees and plants or Arizona 
cactus with rock and gravel?
  If you choose or chose Arizona rock and gravel/bark with no lawn, trees or shrubs – that’s as drought friendly as you can go & still have landscaping. For most of us, we already have the California look – lawn, trees, plants, flowers & maybe a little garden area. Assuming that we will be either be on a 2 or 3 days per week lawn watering rotation, here are some of the tips on how we got more results with less water.

LAWNS

 Do a little sprinkler maintenance: Check your pop up sprinklers, make sure that grass is not blocking the water spray, you may need to cut away grass in the spray zone (dig them out a little) or raise the pop-up head by adding a small riser. Clean them up so they are 100% efficient.

Get a good multi-station timer:  (the Orbits brand is a good one, there are others) with a minimum of 10 stations. Identify your individual water circuits, most homes have 3 lawn circuits in front and 2 in the backyard.

For each day that you are allowed to water your lawn:
  Set each circuit for 8-10 minutes, for 2 or 3 times per day early in the morning with at least a 45-minute break in between. The short watering times (8 – 10 minutes) with at least a 45-minute pause in between allows the water to seep into the roots. This reduces runoff and maximizes the effectiveness of the water used. The early morning watering times provides the lawns with a deep root quenching to start the hot, dry days ahead.

Here’s an example of how to set up your water time circuits:

Circuit 1. Front Lawn – Area 1. 1st Start Time 2:00 am for 8 minutes. 2nd Start Time 2:45 am for 8 minutes. If your lawn requires the 3 times per day, limit the last cycle to 4-5 minutes to avoid water runoff on the sidewalk.

Circuit 2. Front Lawn. Area 2. 1st Start Time 2:30 am for 8 minutes.  
2nd  Start Time 3:15 am for 8 minutes. 
If your lawn requires the 3 times per day, limit the last cycle to 4-5 minutes to avoid water runoff on the sidewalk.

FLOWER BEDS   GARDENS  &  TREES

DRIP THEM. There are NO daily restrictions on a drip system. 
They make a ‘pop up sprinkler head to drip’ conversion KIT that comes with all the pieces you will need. If you have ridged pipes with spray heads they have KITS that convert each of them to 6 feeder lines. It’s really slick and means you can start laying out the drip lines without having to dig. Just use your existing spray pop-ups and modify them for drip according to the kit’s instructions, choosing as many sprinkler heads as you need to provide a drip line to each of your plants and trees.

To decommission the unnecessary pop-up heads, take a small screwdriver and tighten down the screw in the center of the pop-up spray head, they will pop up but they won’t spray. For those with ridged pipes, just remove old unused spray heads and cap them with ½” PVC threaded caps.

SPECIAL NOTE: Drip systems work best when you use filters or membranes to keep out the seeds and dirt that is in our clean water. Installing a filter on a drip line circuit at the valve is a great way to protect against plugged up emitters.

How to decide what size emitters to use for your plants and trees:

Here’s a quick visualization exercise that will help you determine the best emitter size for each plant and the amount of time the water circuit should be on.

Get a ½ gallon milk jug and fill it. So, a 1 gallon per hour emitter, on for 30 minutes will fill that milk jug just as you did. Not all the plants need that much water so you can adjust the duration time down or lower the emitter volume, using a ¼ or ½ gallon per hour emitter. Just a little bit of math and you are a professional.

Setting the drip system circuit time:

We water our plants at night every other day, 30 minutes in duration, during the summer.

In my travels around Oakdale,  I see evidence of homes being hit by misdirected or broken spray sprinklers. The stucco discolors and cracks, the wood trim and siding fade, crack and get dry rot, all of these conditions diminish the look and value of your home and will ultimately cost you $$.   Therefore, a weekend ‘Water Project’ could save you monthly on your water bill and save you the cost of repairs.

As Always Keep You Castle In Great Shape !