May is Water Awareness Month

Do your part to conserve by following these simple steps

May is Water Awareness Month

Throughout California, water agencies focus on May as a time for customers to review their water usage and focus on how they can use water more efficiently. May starts the irrigation season in California and residential water use starts ramping up. Landscape irrigation accounts for 50-70% of residential water use in the summer time. Of this amount, another 50% is wasted due to over watering, improper irrigations scheduling and poorly maintained or antiquated equipment.

Let’s focus on ways to irrigate efficiently:

Watering your lawn at the wrong time of day wastes water and can dehydrate your grass. The best time of day to water your lawn is during the coolest parts of the day when winds are light. The type of grass you are growing and the characteristics of your yard affect the time to water your lawn. Daytime Watering The best time of day to water your lawn is when air temperatures are lower and there is dew on the ground.

Temperatures are usually at their lowest during the late evening or early morning. Most lawns benefit from watering two to three times per week. Watering your lawn on days when cooler weather is forecast helps reduce the amount of water your lawn needs. Wind Speed Watering on windy days increases the rate that your irrigation water evaporates before it soaks into the soil. In the early morning, wind speeds are generally lower.

Watering your lawn early in the morning helps reduce the amount of water that is lost to evaporation and the amount of water needed to irrigate your grass. Evaporation During the evening and morning when temperatures are lower, the relative humidity of the air increases.

Decreasing air temperatures reduce the amount of water vapor that the air can hold. Watering during the coolest part of a hot day ensures that your irrigation water evaporates slower and helps decrease your overall water usage. Benefits Watering during the early morning or late evening reduces the amount of water wasted when you water your grass over a long period. Watering your lawn when the grass is still wet with morning dew reduces disease.

Reducing your water wastage saves money. Using less water helps reduce the amount of soil nutrients lost to leaching. Considerations Warm season grasses are adapted to warm climates and grow the most during the summer. These grasses develop deep root systems and grow best when they are irrigated less frequently with more water. In most cases, warm season grasses perform best when they are watered one to two times a week. Cool season grasses are adapted to cooler climates and produce most of their growth during the spring and fall. Cool season grasses have shallow root systems that can only draw water from the soil near the surface. These grasses generally perform better when they are watered three times a week.

hits 2

Shawn Novack

Shawn Novack is the Director of the Water Resources Association of San Benito County. The Association represents the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, the Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District for all their water conservation and water resource protection programs. Shawn has been in the field of water conservation for 18 years. He has a certification as a Water Conservation Practioner from the American Water Works Association California/Nevada Chapter. He also is a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor through the Irrigation Association in Virginia. Before getting into the water industry, Shawn worked as a technical writer for the Naval Research Center in Monterey.