Drought, restrictions, water conservation

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    I'm hoping this thread can be our "official" thread concerning all things related to drought, water shortages, restrictions, and maybe conservation.

    We here in Colorado Springs area are in another drought period, and we will be having restrictions this year for the primary utility provider. They did have restrictions from 2002-2005 when things were bad then as well. Some of the smaller water providers have been on restrictions for a while now, which I think we should do full time, and forever due to our local conditions. We get about 16" of precip for our annual average, and we got about half that last year, along with our hottest summer on record. In an area that has very low overall humidity, and combined with high elevation that burns the grass easier just like it burns our skin easier, our lawns take a beating very fast.

    I found this link today concerning our water shortage ordinance and all the different levels or stages of restrictions. I expect we will start out on either 3 days a week, or possibly even 2 days a week as utilities has hinted at. In a perfect world, with a perfect install, and perfect soil amendment, and the correct native turf for the area, two days a week watering works. But that is rarely the case and I don't know who lives in a perfect world.

    I am going to do a better job this year of informing customers of our situation, and am in the process of putting together a small booklet or handout discussing our problem and what can be done. One thing they need to understand is that when there is a shortage of water, that might mean they do not have a thick lush green lawn. It means doing their part to save water, and accept a lawn less than perfect.

    Any tips would be appreciated to best inform our customers/clients about what needs to be done. Not just for my customers, but every customer that utilizes water to maintain a green lawn around the country/world.
  2. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    wise words
  3. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    Outstanding "official" thread starter Dana!
    I hope leak detection facts and fiction as well as water loss surveys will also be welcome?

    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    Of course. I'm just trying to get a dialogue going concerning issues pertaining to the thread title, or items that we can do to correct bad practices in watering and landscaping, or how to solve issues of losing water. We can't fix the drought, but we can fix badly installed systems.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,756

    I think the sprinklers-only guys will be more or less working on optimizing systems, and possibly reworking some of them to restrict watering to beds where the expensive plantings are.
  6. LawnMastersTx

    LawnMastersTx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Two days a week would be nice, City of Austin has been at one day a week for a while. Lucky the university does not have to follow those rules, but we have been working with the city on a pilot program. Instead of limiting the number of days to water, they limit the amount of water. We use a formula, supplied by the city, that determines what our maximum allotted amount of water we can use in a given month. This formula is based off square footage, plant material, Historic ET (WHICH I HATE :cry::cry::cry:) and a few other factors. This allows us to continue to convert over to more efficient nozzles that require more time and to utilize cycle and soak methods.

    We came within a month of having no water for irrigation...... Prepare now for this to continue this year and maybe many years to come.
  7. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,932

    Been a while since I've been on, but this is something that I've always looked into and will try to turn it into a money maker.

    I know my counter part here "kiril" doesn't like lawns because the truth be told, they do need water and chems to look nice. But even native plants need to b watered and here in my area, people are to lazy or don't have the time to water and want it done automatically.

    On subject:
    Check heads....do they function properly? Are they set at proper height?

    Water practices.... do they water at the best time.....

    from lawn maintenance issue, reliance more on iron fortified fertilizers.....less watering, don't push growth
    example "Best" a j.r.simplot soil improvement company has a 5%iron mini prill fertilizer which won't really push grass but will green it up. Can also be used on flowering plants, but need to watch amount.
    Cut grass at a higher height...height equals water retention

    Thats from the lawn maintenance side.........
    Then they can always go to synthetic lawns

  8. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    I am in North Texas and we have always had some watering restrictions for as long as I can recall. Much of it has to do with structural issues.
    The most general restriction is no watering between 10 am to 6 pm
    The next step is often day of the week and twice per week.
    Then it gets tighter from there.

    I wrote this a few years ago. Do not nit pick it too much as it was edited for space and I see a few errors.


    This pre-dates much of the materials water sense is now using on their website.

    The North Central Texas Counsel of Governments has identified irrigation waste as one area to reduce overall consumption to allow for growth without building more. Besides that, we are running out of people willing to let the big city take their land to build lakes.
    Clearly, I had several agenda’s here including getting water sense to recognize our mandatory training vs the IA training. I know the IA program is good. I self-studied for it and flew to another state to take the exam. I passed the exam but could not find someone local to let me do the audit required.
    You can do fliers but you will likely be more effective looking for a BOMI, RMFP and IFMA trade groups, submit a similar letter to them. Likewise, we often get a newsletter with our water bill about various community happenings and that includes saving water.
    Exhibit gardens are replacing some turf as well, using xeriscaping and drip. Smart companies are using more and more of this style of landscape down here.

    Thanks for the great thread
  9. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I think they have it wrong on the restrictions in our area. When we are getting enough rain that there is not water restricions people water, but that is in my opion when they need to say no outside watering because we do not need it.

    Another thing that really bugs me is the people that are wasting water by NOT watering enough. They will have their sprays set for 20 minutes when our soil cannot absorb that fast, then they will have their rotors going 20-30 minutes and that is just wasting it because that low amount is not doing didly.
  10. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Do they require rain sensors?

    ET controllers are pretty cheap these days and are a nice up sell.

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