Depending on what you read about 95% of the water entering our homes goes down the drain. We all waste water. Accidentally, out of ignorance, stupidity or like a lot of people that just don’t care. Water appears to be abundant and is relatively cheap so who cares? Could be by leaving the water on while brushing your teeth, the toilet flapper wears out or gets stuck open and the toilet runs nonstop, leaky faucets, taking too long in the shower, leaving the pool fill or water hose running too long etc. The reasons are endless. We’re all guilty of a few and should be more mindful. But the biggest waste of water comes from lawn/ landscape and farming irrigation. I’ll spare you the stats on farming since most likely none of you reading this are farmers. But its estimated more than 50% of lawn/ landscape irrigation water used goes to waste. I see it all the time- irrigation systems going off at the wrong time of day, broken sprinkler heads or heads not adjusted correctly watering the street, broken pipes or heads gushing water everywhere, property owners watering too often when the lawn doesn’t need it. Or watering for too long of a duration and water is just pouring down the street. And property owners watering while it’s raining. YES, WATERING WHEN ITS RAINING! I’m sure you’ve seen it to. Multiply the above mentioned issues by thousands and thousands and thousands of irrigation systems city, state and nationwide.
The best time to water the lawn and landscape is in the early morning 4 – 6 AM. With the last zone finishing just before sunrise. DO NOT WATER IN THE AFTERNOON! In the afternoon the sun is at its highest burning bright and it’s the hottest part of the day. So a lot of water is lost through evaporation. And if there is even just a slight breeze more water will be blown away from the lawn and evaporated. Watering in the early morning is best because the sun is not out and there generally is not a breeze to blow water away from the lawn. So more water intended for the lawn actually reaches the lawn. What a simple concept! In addition to needlessly wasting water, watering in the late afternoon/ evening encourages fungal diseases.
Broken heads or pipes, worn out heads and heads not adjusted properly waste water no matter what time of the day you water. Audit your irrigation system at least once a year. With time and use heads wear out and leak, get out of adjustment, break down and do not retract back into the ground. And plants and grass grow over heads obstructing them or stopping them from working altogether. Go through your system zone by zone checking each head. Make sure all heads are installed correctly at grade level. Not sticking up so they do not get hit by the mowers and people don’t trip over them. Make sure plants haven’t grown up deflecting spray patterns and grass runners haven’t grown across heads holding them down. Make sure heads are popping up & retracting, not leaking and are operating correctly spraying the intended area. Then make necessary repairs or adjustments so your irrigation system waters more efficiently.
Many property owners over water either by watering too often when the lawn doesn’t need it or for too long of duration each watering. Use a little common sense here. Unfortunately just like water in many areas it’s in short supply these days. Try and be mindful and water less. If it’s just rained or rained recently you don’t need to water! If rain is in the immediate forecast you don’t need to water! While it’s raining…YOU DEFINITELY DON’T NEED TO WATER! If your grass is thick, green, growing fast and could be cut twice a week you don’t need to water! If mushrooms are growing in your lawn or landscape you don’t need to water! If you have Brown Patch in your lawn you don’t need to water! If it’s the dead of winter and your lawn is dormant you don’t need to water. Even though your irrigation system is automatic you should manage it often and make changes based on current or anticipated weather conditions. Instead many property owners aren’t aware of what there control box is doing or how it’s set. Take the time to get to know what zones water where, how often your system is running and how long each zone is running. When it rains turn your irrigation system off. And let your lawn tell you when it’s thirsty again. You’ll see regular spots that tend to wilt first signaling when your lawn needs a drink. Then turn it back on. If we get occasional rainfall most lawns can get through our hot summers by manually operating your controller and watering as needed. If you like to set it and “forget it” set it for once, twice maybe 3 times a week depending on the season and current climate conditions. Is it raining occasionally or are you in a really hot dry stretch? Do not water everyday. At most water every other day during extreme drought conditions. In general water less frequent for longer duration for deeper watering.
Additionally, most property owners tend to cut their lawn too short which in turn requires more frequent watering. Always cut your lawn as high as possible during the hot summer months to help your lawn better withstand the heat. As the temperature rises so should your mowing height!
Water is a vital resource and should be used more thoughtfully and efficiently. We’re lucky we “appear” to have plenty of water. But reality is many states and people all over the world face water scarcity to some degree. While every day without concern we pour water right down the drain like there is an endless supply that will always be there just for us to carelessly use up. To put it in perspective, you are watering your lawn with clean potable drinking water. Drinking water that not everyone on our our planet has access to or the money to buy. Water will only get more scarce and more expensive as years go by. Go to https://eyeonwater.com/signin to register your water meter. You can view your daily usage and set leak detection alerts that will help flag issues and conserve water.
The following links are articles on lawn maintenance, lawn/ landscape irrigation water usage and water scarcity. Read them and then take some time and Google it for yourself.