With snowpack levels in California well below normal, it's only a matter of time before neighborhoods are full of residents with their lawn sprinklers on full blast.
The California Department of Water Resources said Thursday that the dwindling snowpack levels were caused by what could be the driest January and February on record (since 1920), pointing out the state's snowpacks provide a third of California's water.
The Regional Water Authority for Sacramento and Placer counties responded by asking residents to tune up their sprinkler systems before the hot weather arrives.
"While weather patterns are certainly unpredictable and beyond our control, it's important to remember that we do have control over our water use," a press release quoted Regional Water Authority Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot as saying. "The Regional Water Authority and local water providers urge residents to use water efficiently, especially outdoors where most water use--and water waste--occurs. In particular, as spring and the outdoor watering season approaches, we ask residents to tune up their sprinklers to make sure they run efficiently."
To do so, the water authority offered five tips:
1) Turn on your sprinkler system one watering zone (valve) at a time, and walk each zone.
2) Check for adequate water pressure. Pressure may be too high if you see "misting" (water that sprays into the air and drifts away) or if pop-up sprinklers don't rise all the way. Pressure may be too low if you see water dribbling (instead of spraying) from sprinklers.
3) Look for water-wasting problems such as:
- Sprinklers that water the sidewalks, street, fence and any other area that shouldn't be watered.
- "Geysers"--water shooting out of a broken sprinkler head.
- Clogged spray nozzles with little or no water exiting sprinkler heads.
- Water running off the lawn or planting bed and onto the pavement.
4) Repair problems:
- Adjust misdirected and tilted sprinklers to water the lawn and not the sidewalk.
- Repair or replace damaged sprinkler heads and nozzles.
- Stop runoff by dividing your watering cycle into multiple shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
- Clear out clogs in spray nozzles.
5) Schedule your sprinkler timer according to the weather and your water provider's guidelines. After all, if you set your timer once and let it run all season, you’ll both waste water and potentially hurt your plants.
More information is available at BeWaterSmart.info