President’s Message—July is Smart Irrigation Month
A fairly healthy snowpack and slightly above normal rain for one season do not compensate for five years of drought. Remember, those El Niño rains stayed to the north of us. And, although they did help refill reservoirs that supply our imported water, our Orange County Groundwater Basin contains 25 percent in its optimum pumping range to avoid land subsidence and seawater intrusion, while supplying 75 percent of the water needs of 2.4 million people in north and central parts of the county.
That’s why water conservation remains important. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “In dry climates such as the Southwest, a household's outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent." In addition, some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.
July is the 11th annual Smart Water Irrigation Month, initiated by the Irrigation Association to increase awareness of the value of water use and grow demand for water-saving products, practices and services.
As an example, one broken sprinkler without a pressure regulator that is left on could lose as much as 12-13 gallons of water a minute. This is a great reason to keep your property’s irrigation system in good condition. Here’s an excellent tip: “Some of the most underutilized smart devices available are sprinklers with pressure regulators,” says Brent Mecham, industry development director for the Irrigation Association. “You could save 20 percent of your irrigation water use with a device that performs better, at a minimal cost.”
Who wouldn’t want to save money, nurture one’s landscape properly and protect one’s community’s water supply? You can start by having an efficient irrigation system, watering wisely—in the early or late hours and on non-windy days—and planting with California Friendly Plants. Be sure to group your plants with similar moisture needs and mulch them well.
We have forecasts of a dry La Niña winter. Be a good steward of water, our precious resource, reap long-term savings and benefits of water-use efficiency, and be drought prepared.
For more tips and incentives, SoCalWater$mart.com offers several water conservation rebates that include rotating sprinkler nozzles, soil moisture sensors, and weather-based irrigation controllers. And consider using one of the local Smart Irrigation Contractors on your next project.