Using Water Wisely
By far, the highest water use during hot, summer days is lawn or turf irrigation. There are many sophisticated automated, in-ground lawn sprinkler systems in use today; however, these systems require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Even the most properly maintained system can be operated unwisely.
Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with the metropolitan area water utilities and through the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission planning group, has developed the "Using Water Wisely" program.
Des Moines Water Works encourages customers to Use Water Wisely, a voluntary program aimed at smart water use during hot, dry, summer days. Customers can do this simply by avoiding lawn watering during the hottest part of the day – 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Evaporation from the sun is highest during this time period and less water is absorbed into the soil. This watering approach also reduces the peak load on water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life. In addition, Des Moines Water Works also recommends:
- Voluntarily shift watering to no more frequently than the ODD numbered days of the month if your house address ends with an ODD number, and EVEN numbered days of the month, if your house address ends with an EVEN number. For example, if your house number is 1302, it is suggested that you water on the 2nd, 4th, 6th day of the month, and so on.
- Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
- For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
- When possible, avoid laying sod or grass seed during the month of July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months of the year. New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive. Grass seed is also best used during the fall.
- Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.