Fresh water is a scarce commodity in Texas, where summers tend to be hot and dry. For this reason, it’s a good idea to try and ensure that you maximize your irrigation system efficiency to get the best results, resulting in water savings that can reduce your water bill significantly. See below for City of Austin water restrictions and water schedule for your area.
First, here some ways that you can improve the efficiency of your sprinkler system this spring and summer.
Old sprinkler heads may be squandering water by producing a lot of mist that simply evaporates, wasting water. Therefore, water waste can be decreased by switching to sprinkler heads that spray larger, heavier droplets closer to the ground. Because these sprinkler heads spray at a slower rate, the earth has more opportunity to absorb water. Less water evaporates before reaching the ground.
The effectiveness of your irrigation system can be improved by switching some areas to drip irrigation, especially for flower or vegetable beds.
In drip irrigation, water is gently delivered to plants through hoses with tiny holes punched into them, which also minimizes water loss due to evaporation. This technique utilizes less water than standard sprinkler systems, making it a water-saving option that is also good for the environment.
They prevent water accumulation and runoff, making them ideal for areas with steep, sloped ground. To provide water directly to the roots, the system may in some circumstances be buried beneath the ground.
By choosing drip irrigation, you can not only reduce water waste but also increase the health of your plants. Drip irrigation systems may need periodic maintenance to prevent clogs.
You probably already have these installed because the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality mandated the use of rain and breeze sensors on all newly installed sprinkler systems in 2009 to increase water use efficiency.
However, it’s important to check that the sensors are in good working order, are unobstructed, and are not covered in soil or leaves. The sensors will function properly and contribute to more effective watering if they are well maintained.
Therefore, it is advised to routinely check your sensors’ batteries and remove any obstructions that can prevent them from working. By doing this, you can make the most of the mandated sensors to optimize your water use.
The optimal times to run your sprinklers are in the early morning or late at night to reduce water evaporation and ensure proper soil saturation. To prevent fungal growth, morning is best. Mulching around trees and plants can also contribute to the longest-lasting soil moisture retention and reduce evaporation. The City of Austin has specific times and days to water your lawn; which are different for hose end watering and automatic sprinklers.
With these methods, your garden can get enough water without too much waste.
Smart Sprinkler/Irrigation Systems
Smart irrigation systems respond to the actual needs of the garden to prevent water loss. They intelligently decide when to switch on or off and how much water is needed in any given situation using weather data.
Such systems incorporate sensors to stop watering during rain or prevent overwatering, increasing the overall system’s efficiency. By increasing or decreasing watering based on weather projections, the technology can easily respond to changing weather conditions. Often, such systems can be linked to smartphone apps that allow you direct control over the system and its diagnostics.
The upfront costs for a smart irrigation system might be a little steep. But over time, the system pays for itself through water savings. Such systems not only reduce your water bills but are environmentally friendly as well.
Sprinkler Controllers to Save Water
An irrigation specialist can optimize your irrigation controller to ensure maximum sprinkler efficiency for your property’s water needs. When set up correctly, it can save you thousands of gallons of water every season.
Tampering with your smart irrigation system or interfering by manually watering every day can decrease the system’s efficiency. Any such adjustments could disrupt the whole finely-tuned setup and end up wasting water.
Trust the pros and leave the system to run as it has been set so that it can perform its task as well as it possibly can.
Finally, checking your irrigation system regularly for issues, such as leaks and clogs, can prevent wastage and ensure that the system runs optimally. It is essential to repair any problems promptly to prevent inefficiencies from arising. Therefore, constant vigilance and maintenance are key. You may not be aware of an issue with you sprinkler system but a problem may actually exists. It is recommended to have your system maintained and upgraded especially after a lot of use.
Austin’s Water Restrictions & Watering Schedule 2023
It’s important to note that the City of Austin is currently under Stage 1 of drought water use restrictions, which has a direct impact on when you should start using your sprinkler system again. Stage 1 was implemented in June 2022, when the combined water volume at Lakes Buchanan and Travis dropped below 1.4 million acre-feet.
Stage 1 restricts residences to using hose-end sprinklers 2 days a week and automatic irrigation 1 day a week. Commercial or multi-family properties are restricted to using sprinkler systems just 1 day a week for either hose-end sprinklers or irrigation. Failure to adhere to the City’s restrictions could result in fines of up to $500.
Want to know your watering day? Use this helpful watering schedule tool to find out!
The City further encourages citizens to save water wherever possible. At Smart Earth Sprinklers, we recommend enlisting our services for a sprinkler tune-up or repair to ensure your sprinkler isn’t a water wastage offender.
To get help with sprinkler maintenance and to have a professional ensure your irrigation system’s efficiency this spring and summer, contact us at Smart Earth Sprinklers today!