July is typically the month when the most water is used for landscape irrigation.
Landscape irrigation and outdoor water use may account for 50 to 80 percent of the total residential use during spring and summer. Unfortunately, most of this is wasted due to inefficient watering practices—including runoff.
As a result, the Irrigation Association (IA) designates each July as “Smart Irrigation Month” to draw attention to use of efficient irrigation technologies and practices.
The High Plains Water District (HPWD) is celebrating this month by sharing tips to help homeowners reduce the amount of water used outdoors.
You can save water in your landscape by implementing some of these practices:
- Conduct an annual irrigation audit to make sure your system is working efficiently.
- Replace water-intensive plants with drought-tolerant or native varieties.
- Use smart technologies to help manage water use. Rain sensors, soil moisture probes, and smart controllers can help you with water management decisions.
- Water deeply and less frequently to make your turf more resistant to drought and/or foot traffic.
- Install a rainwater harvesting system to offset your use of groundwater or municipal water supplies.
- Consider use of the WaterMyYard program. Subscribers receive a weekly notification of the amount of water needed for their landscape, based upon the weather station data. HPWD’s 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. A seven-day weather summary is available at https://texaset.tamu.edu/DataSummary/Daily/169. This is the second year that HPWD has sponsored the WaterMyYard program.
Smart Irrigation Month is not just for homeowners. The Irrigation Association also has some helpful tips for agricultural producers.
- Take advantage of cost-share programs, such as the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
- Minimize irrigation water runoff (“tailwater”) from fields.
- Use telemetry equipment to improve irrigation scheduling.
- Improve soil management to improve water infiltration and reduce runoff.
“It is important to make sure irrigation systems are properly operated and maintained,” says High Plains Water District Manager Jason Coleman. “This not only saves money—but it can help reduce waste of the region’s surface water and groundwater resources. The High Plains Water District encourages persons to use water wisely without waste each day,” he says.
Additional information about Smart Irrigation Month is available at the Irrigation Association’s website (irrigation.org)