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Water Wisdom

Posted on: August 12, 2019

Save Water and Money by Maintaining Your Irrigation System - August 2019

Irrigation systems help us control the timing, volume, and duration of water applied to our landscapes. When these systems are designed and maintained properly, they save you, water, time, and money and help you keep a beautiful, efficiently, and easily watered landscape.

Even though irrigation systems may run themselves, they cannot maintain themselves! Regular monitoring and inspecting are key! Did you know that irrigation issues are in the top three causes of water leaks? A lot can go wrong and quickly.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you maintain your irrigation system:

  1. Monitor your water bills and meter and create yourself a water budget. These are your feedback tools that help you if figure out if you are on track with efficient use or might have leaks. A water budget requires you to know your plant water needs for specific months of the year as well as the unique features of your landscape, such as the sloped and shaded areas.
  2. "Audit" your system by walking the landscape while irrigation is running at least once a month. As you walk the property look for overspray onto hardscapes, other sources of run-off, broken heads or leaking seals, obstructed or misdirected heads, and dying or drowning plants. Adjust or replace faulty heads and consider the new efficient rotary style heads.
  3. Know how to use your irrigation controller and consider purchasing a "smart" one that automatically adjusts for recent rainfall and time of year. Some can be controlled and monitored from your smartphone. Also figure out what your controller will do if there is a power outage-some revert back to a basic factory setting.
  4. Create a map of your yard that indicates where each irrigation zone is located and the valve number that corresponds to that area. This will save hours of time when trouble-shooting any problems.
  5. Regulating and monitoring incoming pressure is also important to prevent leaks from popping emitters and couplings, as well as misting of spray heads. If you live in a high-pressure area, you may need a regulator installed, adjusted, or replaced. Learn how to take static and active pressures in your system.
  6. Remember, most people over-water. If you see moss, mushrooms or over growth, you may have a leak or are over-watering. Mulching helps to hold moisture in the landscape and prevent erosion on slopes.
  7. Irrigate when the sun is down, but inspect your system when the sun is up.
  8. Many people do not adjust their irrigation schedule with the four seasons. The adage of "set it and forget it" does not work and can cost you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary leaks and wasted water.

If you are Soquel Creek Water District customer call us at 831-475-8500 for a free Water Wise House call. Our conservation specialist will come out to your home and evaluate the efficiency of your irrigation system. He can also provide you with a personalized irrigation schedule, dial in your timer settings, and teach you how to easily schedule your timer.

Update on other Soquel Creek Water District Activities 

  • The District reached a significant milestone in the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project on June 25th. The Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved an agreement for the City to provide treated effluent and to collaborate on a tertiary treatment facility that will located at Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility. The tertiary-treated water will then be put through an advanced water purification process before being used to create a seawater intrusion barrier and replenish the critically over-drafted Mid-County groundwater basin.
  • The District was recognized as one of 85 Top Workplaces in 2019 by The Bay Area News Group. The annual award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through an anonymous, third-party survey. "We are excited to be recognized as a Bay Area Top Workplace and that our employees consider Soquel Creek Water District a great place to work!" said Ron Duncan, District General Manager. "Our workplace culture is a distinct part of what makes us special and our mission has always been to recruit and retain top-notch, public employees dedicated to serving our community by providing a safe, reliable, and sustainable water supply."
  • The 860-foot-deep pilot seawater intrusion prevention well project at Twin Lakes Church has successfully been constructed. The $1.1M pilot well (partially funded by a Proposition 1 Groundwater Grant) was constructed by Maggiora Bros. Drilling, Inc. and includes 470 feet of stainless steel screens, spanning two zones of the Purisima aquifer. During the drilling operations, soil samples were collected every five feet and analyzed for geochemical properties to provide further information on the underlying aquifers. Testing was conducted to confirm the potential recharge and extraction rates that can be achieved. A draft report is expected by late summer 2019. We appreciate the community partnership with Twin Lakes Church on this important pilot project.

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