As everyone knows by now, California is in a serious drought. Governor Brown issued an executive order mandating a 25 percent reduction in statewide water use. In San Diego County, the biggest use of water is for irrigation of lawns and other outdoor landscaping. There is now a two-day watering schedule in effect. Below are some helpful resources and tips.

  1. Now, may be a good time to think about removing your turf. SoCal Water Smart offers turf removal rebates. The rebates are awarded to those that take out their turf, and replace it with drought-tolerant or water-efficient plants. Check the SoCal Water Smart website for details – www.socalwatersmart.com
  2. Another rebate to take advantage of is for installing rotor type sprinklers (MP Rotators) instead of fixed spray sprinklers. These rotating sprinklers reduce runoff and put out about 1/3 the water of a regular spray head. Check the Be Water Wise website for rebates – www.bewaterwise.com
  3. Rebates are also available for various water efficient irrigation tools such as weather based irrigation controllers and soil moisture sensors. Check the SoCal Water Smart website for details – www.socalwatersmart.com

There is a wealth of information being offered to landscapers and homeowners alike to educate on innovative ideas on how to save water and have a beautiful landscape. Check out the San Diego County Water Authority for links to webinars and seminars for San Diegans (including a full calendar) – http://www.watersmartsd.org/upcoming-events. There are some VERY helpful events happening…

For those of you that would like to try and keep your yards green, there are steps you can take to cut the amount used yet maximize the efficiency of your water use even with the two day a week watering restriction.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure you or your landscape company are checking for broken lines, sprinkler heads and valves on a regular basis. Don’t waste water with a broken irrigation system. Ensure the water gets to the landscape and not the concrete. Otherwise, you could end up wasting water, spending more money and still have brown plants.
  2. Ask about installing rotor type sprinklers (MP Rotators) instead of fixed spray sprinklers. These rotating sprinklers reduce runoff and put out about 1/3 the water of a regular spray head. Check the Be Water Wise website for rebates – www.bewaterwise.com
  3. Check and adjust sprinkler heads to avoid overspray. Again, make sure the water is getting to the plants – not the concrete
  4. Ask your company about installing Smart Irrigation Timers. These state of the art controllers and weather stations factor in soil type, sprinkler type, geographical area, moisture and solar radiation to take the guess work out of how long you should water. Check the SoCal Water Smart website for rebate details – www.socalwatersmart.com
  5. Make sure that you irrigate early in the morning to avoid evaporation.
  6. Ensure that your contractor is checking line pressure in your irrigation systems to assure sprinklers are operating at the desired specifications to avoid misting.
  7. Ask your company to let your grass grow longer. This will create shade for the soil below to hold more moisture.
  8. Talk to your contractors about running soak programs on your irrigation controller for those hard to water areas.
  9. Mulch, mulch , mulch! Ask your maintenance team to add a two to three inch layer of mulch around shrubs and trees to reduce evaporation.
  10. Aerate. Ask your contractor to aerate the turf at least once per year, twice if possible to save water
    in addition…

Stay current and in the know by visiting sdcwa.org/whenindrought. On the lower left hand side of the page you can click on the “Local Water Agency Restrictions”tab. That will take you to the links to view the restrictions by the individual agencies that fall under San Diego County Water Authority. Local rules vary based on regulations adopted by local water agencies. California is currently operating under Level 2 Restrictions. You’ll notice that in many cases Drip Irrigation is not confined to the water window of 6pm to 10am. Ten minutes per cycle for sprays is exempt with smart devices such as using efficient nozzles or if using a weather based irrigation controller. Many irrigators struggle to meet the requirements by simply not understanding the restrictions.

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