Walking my dogs around the neighborhood, early in the morning to beat the heat, I’ve noticed residents being mindful of water usage, taking steps to conserve in multiple ways. Several homes within a six-block radius have removed or are in the process of replacing their grass with desertscape (xeriscape) or artificial grass. Early morning watering schedules are being adhered to – before 9 a.m., for optimal lawn health and water conservation.
A big water waste culprit is water spraying or flowing off your property. My neighbor Jim M. found a clever way to avoid water waste by placing a DIY shield around sprinkler heads to help avoid overspray. While they’re sold as sprinkler shields, guards, or deflectors, Jim simply cut a 3” plastic pipe in half, placed it around the sprinkler head, and pounded it down into the grass to the height necessary to redirect the overspray back onto the lawn.
Alas, I’ve seen broken sprinkler heads on my walks, sometimes shooting up like a geyser. Especially along paths, sprinkler heads are easily stepped on, ridden or mowed over and crack right off. To prevent such waste, as well as the annoyance of perpetually replacing them, it’s worth investing in sprinkler head protectors. Multiple versions are available for purchase -called donuts, helmets or cages. One brand that caught my eye online is the GRASSHOLE System. It’s veteran owned and made in the USA, using an advanced flexible ABS plastic that’s durable for years.
Water waste is not to be taken lightly and fines can be up to $5,000. As the Southern Nevada Water Authority makes clear in commercials and on their website, “Through Aug. 31, landscape watering is prohibited between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. when it is most likely to evaporate due to heat. And remember, NEVER water on Sunday. It’s the law!”
Timing is everything when it comes to water scheduling, not just the days and time of day, but the amount of time as well. Given our hot parched soil, it’s difficult to get water to soak in deeply. Experts recommend short waterings, spaced an hour apart as the most effective way to get the deep soak lawns need. Ideally at 5, 6, and 7 a.m., for four-minute cycles, totaling 12 minutes.
The SNWA slogan for drip systems is “Drip It, Don’t Drown It!” GPH (gallons per hour), and low or high flow emitter heads will determine the length of each watering. Figuring out a proper watering schedule based on these factors is paramount to designing and maintaining an efficient drip system.
Sometimes we may be causing water waste without knowing it. Small water leaks occurring inside or outside of our home may go unnoticed, but waste can be significant.
Even a faucet that leaks one little drip per second can waste 3,000 gallons per year. The first place to check for leaks is at your water meter. If all your water appliances, fixtures and exterior systems are turned off, but the small star or triangle on your meter is still spinning, you have a leak. The SNWA website offers informative videos and tips on finding and fixing leaks, and upon request, will mail you a free “Indoor water audit and retrofit kit”—quite a helpful offering.
SNWA is also driving home the urgency to conserve water by way of our pockets.
“Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, the Southern Nevada Water Authority will rebate residential properties, businesses, HOAs and multifamily properties $3 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with desert landscaping.” For more information about the rebate process and program conditions, visit SNWA.com.