As Austin, Texas continues to thrive and expand, our local and state government including TCEQ have done a commendable job with water restrictions and enforcement. However, natural circumstances like the ongoing drought conditions add a layer of complexity to the situation.
With the implementation of mindful watering and repair leaks we can contribute a huge amount to saving water. Taking care of leaks and updating Inefficient sprinkler systems is opportunity to optimize water usage and appreciate the role each one of us can play in responsible resource conservation.
A lot of water is wasted every day through highly inefficient irrigation practices. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, as much as 50% of all irrigation water for lawn and landscapes is lost to runoff, evaporation, and wind.
With this in mind, it is believed that at least 20% more water can be conserved through the use of more efficient watering apparatus and fixtures. Households with poorly maintained sprinkler systems can waste as much as 25 000 gallons of water per year.
Here are some ways to increase your irrigation system efficiency this summer:
Water Before the Sun Comes Up
The sun is what causes evaporation. This means that when the sun is out in full force, your lawn and all the water in it will dry up pretty quickly. The hotter the sun on a particular day, the more evaporation will occur.
Texas, on average, suffers an evaporation rate that can range from 60 to 100 inches per year. This is considered a relatively high evaporation rate, thanks to the hot climate and fairly consistent sunshine that are common to the region.
To minimize the evaporation of your irrigated water, the solution is fairly simple: water at night. This effectively negates the effects of the sun on the water and ensures that all of the water goes into the ground and your plants, not into the air.
We recommend watering in the very early morning rather than the evening because leaving your lawn and lawn soaked throughout the night can potentially lead to mold and fungal growth, causing disease among your plants. To achieve this, in or around Austin, Texas, you should set timers on your sprinkler system to water the landscape at the appropriate time every day.
Use Water-efficient Sprinkler Heads
While many sprinkler systems on the market claim to be efficient, we here at Smart Earth Sprinklers believe that the Hunter sprinkler system is superior in terms of its ability to reduce waste and conserve water.
Hunter sprinklers operate by creating a rotating spray of water with large droplets that form a “curtain” as it turns. These large droplets are heavier than fine misty sprays, allowing the water to fall quickly to minimize the wind blowing it away and causing overspray. This reduces water waste because it ensures that as much water as possible goes where it is supposed to go and is not sprayed all over the walkways or walls.
As such, the Hunter system ensures that water is sprayed evenly to ensure consistent coverage, from the sprinkler head all the way out to the perimeter of the spray arc. This consistent spray minimizes wasted water and, therefore, can significantly reduce watering times.
Keep Your Sprinkler System in Good Repair
Poorly maintained irrigation systems can lead to a lot of water loss. Burst pipes or broken heads can cause leaks that waste thousands of gallons of water. Not only does this end up costing you more in terms of your utility bills, but it also affects the greater community.
Aside from leaks, a poorly maintained and calibrated system can lead to inefficient water distribution. When clogs or malfunctioning valves are present in the system, your irrigation can become uneven, leading to overwatering of some parts of the lawn and wasted water.
A poorly calibrated system can also have sprinkler heads that spray in the wrong direction. This can end up with water being wasted as it is sprayed on walls, walkways, or driveways.
Use Supporting Techniques
There are several things you can do in terms of your landscaping that will help reduce the amount of water lost through irrigation. One of the things you could do is add mulch to your flower beds. Mulch creates a protective layer on top of the soil that keeps moisture in, counteracting the effects of evaporation and runoff. By mulching, you can significantly reduce the amount of water that is lost.
You could also embrace the concept of xeriscaping, which involves the use of drought-tolerant plants and native species to promote efficient water use.