Water Conservation Starts
On Our Lawns
Fall and Winter 2011-12
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- If you can have your shrubs and lawn in
different zones, shrubs can be watered less often
than your lawn, saving water and money.
- Individually adjust your sprinkler heads so
there is no overlap or overspray onto concrete.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Challenge: Set goals to reduce your lawn irrigation.
Track your progress using data on your water bill.
Doing so may save you money.
We encourage everyone to be mindful of reducing your
water usage as we meet the challenge of long term