September 16, 2011 (Spring Valley) - With the recent power outage, now is the perfect time to check your irrigation system to make sure everything is working correctly and avoid overwatering. Keep in mind that when power is lost to irrigation clocks or timers that do not have backup battery power, they will revert to the manufacturer’s default setting of 10 minutes every day, typically at noon, and irrigate up to 70 minutes per week.
To avoid overwatering your lawn or garden and potentially seeing a spike in your water bill, check your irrigation timer and reset the programming as needed. With the extended power outage in some areas, batteries may need to be replaced in controllers with backup power.
The biggest water user in your home is your landscape. The average household in San Diego County applies approximately 60 percent of their total water usage to lawns or gardens. Keep your water bill in check by inspecting your irrigation system today and following this advice:
- As we move toward fall, days start to become shorter, temperatures milder and our plants need less water. By late October and into November, plants typically need a third less water compared to the summer months. Develop an irrigation schedule appropriate to the time of year using the watering calculator on our web site at www.otaywater.gov.
- Consider installing a weather "smart" irrigation controller and let it make the necessary adjustments for you. For information on rebates for weather "smart" irrigation controllers, Otay Water District customers can call us at(619) 670-2730. Similar rebates are available countywide. Non-Otay customers may request a rebate application by calling 1-888-376-3314 or visiting www.bewaterwise.com/rebates01.html.
- Check your sprinkler system for leaks, breaks or obstructions that waste water. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, leaks and breaks can go undetected for months. Inefficiencies such as obstructed or misaligned sprinkler heads may not be obvious until you see your sprinklers running. Take a few minutes toturn on your sprinklers and walk around to see if they are aligned correctly. Look for overspray onto your sidewalks, driveway, patio and adjacent plant material. Ideally, water from one lawn sprinkler should reach the adjacent sprinklers- often referred to as head-to-head coverage. If you have a drip system, make sure that the emitters are still connected, not clogged, and periodically flush the filter.
- Wondering when to water? Pre-sunrise irrigation schedules allow residue water to evaporate slowly from the soil and reduce the potential for moisture related plant diseases.
Want to know more? Visit the Conservation page on the Otay Water District web site at www.otaywater.gov.