Water-Smart Landscape Tips

Up to 80% of water use in residential settings is for landscape irrigation. Routine maintenance can prevent inefficient watering practices and equipment malfunction which often result in an expensive water bill. By using these helpful tips from OMWD you can reduce your use, saving water and money on your monthly bill.

  1. Schedule a tune-up – Irrigation systems should be given a tune-up each year, preferably before summer. Over time, foot traffic or lawn mowers can damage valves and sprinklers, and trapped dirt and debris can prevent devices from working properly, resulting in water waste. Turn on each valve to closely inspect for malfunctioning equipment, overspray, and low head flow, and realign any sprinklers that are leaning or causing overspray. Replace malfunctioning nozzles with the same brand as other nozzles in the same valve circuit. Rebates for high-efficiency rotary nozzles are available.
  2. Timing is everything – The ideal time to run an irrigation cycle is in the early morning or in the evening when less water is lost due to evaporation or wind.
  3. Ease the pressure – High water pressure can result in damage to irrigation equipment and water loss due to misting. Installing pressure regulators or pressure-regulating irrigation spray heads can mitigate the effects of high water pressure.
  4. Due for a system upgrade? – Irrigation technology continues to make advancements that help ensure healthy plants and maximum water efficiency. Smart irrigation controllers use weather forecasts and plant-care databases to optimize your irrigation schedule. Rain sensors shut off irrigation and in-ground soil moisture sensors communicate with an irrigation controller to prevent irrigation when soil is still adequately moist. Rebates on both smart irrigation controllers and soil moisture sensors are available.
  5. Back it up – Make sure your controller has a backup battery. This will prevent a timer resetting to a default setting, which can turn sprinklers on for up to ten minutes per station, seven days a week, creating an unexpected spike in water use.
  6. Mulch; it does a garden good! – Reduce watering demands by adding mulch and enjoy the added benefits of healthier root zones and richer soils. Three inches of mulch is recommended for most gardens.
  7. A little goes a long way – Adjust your lawn mower to leave grass at least three inches long. This reduces water loss due to evaporation by up to 80 percent!

OMWD is proud to offer its customers a free water use evaluation to assist them in improving their homes’ water use efficiency. Learn more about how to schedule your free evaluation.

Water-Smart Landscape Checklist

The first step to planning a new landscape are to evaluate the area you have available. Once you’ve thoroughly examined existing conditions, you can choose the best plants or materials to achieve your goals for a new landscape.

Simple Checklist:

Additional Assistance

Olivenhain Municipal Water District and our regional water wholesalers offer water-smart landscape assistance throughout the year.

  • Sign up to be notified of free landscape workshops.
  • View free instructional videos on designing a water-smart landscape.
  • Schedule a free water use evaluation for your home or business. At no cost to OMWD customers, a landscape professional will provide assistance on critical elements of good water management.
  • Find more information on water and fire-wise landscape techniques on OMWD’s Resources page.