“When should I water my yard?” “How much water should I apply?” These are common questions from homeowners as Summer arrives in the Panhandle-South Plains region.
To eliminate some of the guesswork, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) is sponsoring the “Water My Yard” program, phone app, and website for use by Lubbock County residents.
“Landscape irrigation accounts for 50 to 80 percent of the water used in a home during summer months. Much of this is wasted due to inefficient watering practices. HPWD is testing the “Water My Yard” irrigation scheduling program in Lubbock County. If successful, it may be implemented as a water conservation tool in other parts of our 16-county service area,” said Carmon McCain, Information/Education Supervisor.
“Water My Yard” is a program of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and is conducted in partnership with cities, public utilities, and water districts. There is no charge to homeowners for the service.
“The “Water My Yard” website application and phone app takes the guesswork out of irrigating your yard,” said Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension landscape specialist at College Station. “It uses scientific data obtained from weather stations to determine how much water plants need, based upon local climate and other factors.”
The HPWD Lubbock County weather station is located in the City of Wolfforth. The station records evapotranspiration rates, total rainfall, average maximum and minimum temperature, total solar radiation, and average daily wind speed at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Persons can visit www.hpwd.org/watermyyard to sign up for the program. The program data is currently limited to Lubbock County. The weather station data should generally be the same across the county with exception of rainfall, which can vary.
To get started, visit the “Water My Yard” website to enter a city name or Zip Code to verify the program area. Next, enter an email, a password, and a preferred day to receive watering notifications. Subsequent screens allow persons to enter their contact information, type of irrigation system in use (spray, rotor, drip, or hose end), and other information.
For best results, users should also enter the precipitation rate of their irrigation system. For users who don't know what this is, both the app and website have a precipitation rate wizard that will guide them through a simple process to select a rate.
“The “Water My Yard” website uses simple, intuitive images and information prompts to guide users in setting up their individual profiles. They will then receive watering recommendations for their type of irrigation system and local weather conditions. Users can choose to receive their weekly watering recommendations by email and/or text messages,” said Swanson.
The first version of the “Water My Yard” phone app was released June 19. It is available in both IOS and Android versions, which are free downloads from the Apple and Google stores.
“The phone app pretty much mirrors the website. However, some will find it easier to use and will prefer push notifications sent directly to their mobile device--instead of emails and text messages. The app also lets users enter in their own rainfall measurements, which will be particularly useful for those who are not located near the weather station,” said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation and water management specialist at College Station.
“Water My Yard” started in response to the severe 2011 drought across Texas. North Texas Municipal Water District was the initial program sponsor. Since then, Fort Bend Subsidence District, Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, HPWD, City of Irving, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Memorial Villages Water Authority, Park Cities Municipal Utility District, City of San Angelo, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, and West Harris Regional Water Authority have signed on as sponsors.
Currently, there are more than 23,000 subscribers to the “Water My Yard” program in Texas.
Additional information about “Water My Yard” is available by contacting McCain at (806) 762-0181. His email is email@example.com