Hot Topics - Be Water Wise!

June 2018

Irrigation 101:

City Conservation Ordinances
The City has implemented water conservation measures in Section 410 of the City Code. This is to help protect our water resources and comply with DNR Water Appropriation Permit limits. Following these restrictions, as well as implementing the tips covered below, can help reduce your impact on the system, wave water, and save you money! 
  • Odd-Even Watering Day Restrictions: residents and businesses with addresses ending an an odd number may water on odd numbered calendar days. Those with even-numbered addresses may water on even numbered calendar days. Odd-even watering will assist in maintaining appropriate water reserve levels and puts less "peak" demand on the water supply system. 
  • Time of Day Restrictions: watering is not permitted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. This method limits water usage during dry periods and assists in maintaining appropriate water supply levels. Ideal watering is during the allowed hours to avoid evaporation. 
  • Summer Maximum Outdoor Usage: the City of Waconia allows the maximum outdoor usage of 30,000 gallons/month during the summer months (May - October). Usage outside this restriction will be charged a higher 4th tier rate. 

Common Inefficiencies/Leaks:

  • Rain sensors offset by dirt or bugs
  • Irrigation Lines punctured by landscaping stakes or tree roots 
  • Interior valves go bad and can drip - which can cause a leak to get worse over time
  • Sprinkles with missing nozzles
  • Misting from over pressure, which causes water to just blow away 
  • Water leaking from valves
  • Overlapping spray resulting in areas that are too wet
  • Runoff from over spray or excessive irrigation
  • Runoff from watering driveways or other hard surfaces

​Why is the Water Leaking when the System is Shut Off?

It's likely one of the following two things:
  1. If the sprinkler head is at a low point, even a slight slope can cause low head drainage. When the system is turned off, the water remaining in the pipes drains out the head at the lowest  point. Checking valves, which hold the water in the pipe when the sprinklers are off, can fix the problem.
  2. A leaky valve. Cleaning the valve should fix the problem.

Tips for Keeping Your Yard Green While Saving Some Green

  • 1" of water per week is usually sufficient to keep your grass lush, depending on soil type. On clay soil, 1" may actually be too much!
  • Twice a week watering is usually better than every other day, because it encourages deeper roots.
  • Put measuring cups in various places around your lawn and run the sprinklers for 15 minutes. This will give you an idea of how much water the grass is getting and where.
  • The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often. Much of it runs off and is never absorbed. Instead of watering for one long, continuous session, try splitting the watering time into shorter periods.
  • There are many different types of irrigation systems. Get to know yours and check its settings. Is there a rain sensor or turf moisture sensor? Does it have pop-up or rotary style head? most rain sensors only work while it's raining, and if the sensor is blocked or dirty, it may not be working at all!
  • When installing new sod, make sure you are receiving quality sod. Thicker cut sod won't require immediate and excessive watering.
  • Check the weather! If rain is expected in the next day, holding off or skipping a cycle could save on unnecessary irrigating. 
  • Inspect your system frequently to make sure everything is working properly. A clogged head or torn line can wreak havoc on your water bill.
  • Different plans have different watering needs. Dividing the system by zones can help you customize the watering needs for the different areas of your landscaping. 
  • Using native plants that require less water and are adapted to our climate can reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent!
  • Make sure your system is set up to account for your soil type, hills and slopes, landscaping, sun exposure, and unique yard shapes.
  • Cut your grass longer! Set your lawn mower to cut 3" or higher. Longer grass requires less water and tolerates heat better. This also helps in weed prevention! 
To get an idea of how much water is used when you irrigate, look at the read on your water meter before and after the irrigation cycle. Compare the reads to see the the amount of gallons used. Approximately 2,000 gallons/cycle is common. If you water every other day (the maximum allowed by City ordinance) that adds up to 30,000 gallons a month!

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