Water Conservation Tips
- Try planting drought-tolerant and regionally adapted plants in areas that are hard to water or that receive little use. This may include narrow strips near sidewalks or driveways and steep hills.
- Cover pools and spas to avoid evaporation
- Sweep your driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of spraying them off with a hose
- Check outdoor faucets, pipes, hoses, and pools for leaks
- Change your lawn mower to a 3-inch clipping height and try not to cut off more than one-third of the grass height when you mow
- Consider replacing infrequently used lawn areas with low-water use plants or ground covers
- Apply as little fertilizer to your lawn as possible. Applying excess fertilizer increases water consumption and actually creates more mowing for you! Use iron-based fertilizers to simply “green-up” your lawn instead.
- Recycle and reuse the water in fountains and other ornamental water fixtures
- Check the level in your pool using a grease pencil. Your pool shouldn’t lose more than 1/4 inch each day. If it is losing more than this, check elsewhere for leaks.
- Avoid bursting or freezing pipes by winterizing your outdoor spigots
Tips from the University of California Riverside
According to the University of California Riverside's website, here is what they suggest during the drought:
Water is an essential resource for all aspects of life. With California’s shortage of rain and snow this year, conserving our limited water supply is critical. Follow simple recommendations for conserving water in your home landscape.
Irrigation controllers are commonly used to set start times, frequency and duration of a home's sprinkler or drip system. Over-irrigation is very common, most home landscapes irrigation times and frequencies can be reduced by 20 to 40 percent with little to no effects on landscaping.
Irrigation Adjustment Tips
- Gradually reduce water use by 10 percent increments over the course of a few weeks - giving lawns, trees and plants time to adjust
- Find your irrigation controller manual online
- Install a "Smart" irrigation controller which automatically adjusts using current weather data, historical weather patterns and/or soil moisture sensor
- Check for and repair leaks
- Adjust sprinkler heads to maximize coverage, avoid watering sidewalks and patios
- Install a drip irrigation system, grouping plants with similar water needs together on one drip irrigation line
Irrigation Scheduling Worksheet:
Calculate lawn and landscaping needs using the Irrigation Scheduling Worksheet from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis. This worksheet will generate an annual calendar to irrigate a single hydrozone based on local historical evapotranspiration (ET), distribution uniformity (DU) assessment information, soil type, and desired soil wetting depth. The worksheet will also accommodate irrigation that is restricted to specific days of the week (designated irrigation days). You can access the worksheet by visiting UCR's website directly at the California Garden Web website.
A lawn is almost always the single largest user of water in the home landscape, over-irrigation is very common. Homeowners should adjust lawn irrigation systems monthly in response to changes in temperature and weather. Calculate your turf's exact water needs using the three easy steps outlined below.
Water-saving Lawn Tips:
- Replace nonessential turf with ground covers, mulches, or decks and walkways
- Water at night, ideally between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. - helps reduce evaporation and wind interference with sprinkler patterns
- Mow lawn higher during very warm weather
3 Questions for Calculating Lawn Watering Needs
- What type of lawn do you have?
- What is your sprinkler output?
- How many minutes do you need to water your lawn?
This is a demonstration project at the Rainbow Canyon Homeowner's Association. They converted over 96,945 square feet of non-functional turf to low-watering California-friendly plants. The site incorporates public safety through sound water management by removing the potential for slipping due to over-watering and run-off. View pictures and progress via the Rainbow Canyon Homeowner's Association Irrigation System Retrofit (PDF).