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Water Conservation News

Posted on: May 28, 2020

Who Controls Your Sprinkler System: You or Mother Nature?

Person adjusts a home sprinkler controller

Weather changes have a great impact on Allen’s water use, especially for homeowners with SMART sprinkler controllers. Here’s how average temperatures, average rainfall and the speed at which water evaporates due to other factors (such as wind or humidity) lead to watering increases.

Heat and water use

When it’s hot outside, water molecules stored near the soil’s surface evaporate into the air. Lawns and landscaping may wilt or turn brown without adequate access to water. Many property owners increase their watering after seeing these signs of distress. SMART sprinkler controllers will automatically increase run times when the weather is exceptionally hot, leading to increased water use.

Many people increase recreational water use during hot periods because increased water evaporation means more refilling of home pools and running sprinklers so kids can play.

SAVINGS TIP: Beat the heat

Watering using a "cycle soak" method encourages roots to grow deeper as they search for water. Once these roots are established, they are able to access water trapped deeper in the soil, which is less likely to evaporate.

Rainfall and water use

Rainfall replenishes water in the soil. For most of the year, Allen receives enough rainfall to eliminate the need for irrigation. Typically Allen gets its highest rainfall in May. However, starting in June, Texas summers can become exceptionally dry and are sometimes even classified as "drought."

When it rains, many property owners reduce their watering. SMART sprinkler controllers will automatically skip cycles when adequate rainfall is detected, leading to decreased water use.

SAVINGS TIP: Harness the power of rainwater

During the growing season, your lawn only needs 1/2 inch of water per week. Rain gauges can help you monitor recent rainfall to determine if extra watering is needed.

Other Factors

In addition to heat and rainfall, other factors can impact how quickly water evaporates from your soil. Wind depletes moisture from plants and soil, just like it can leave your lips chapped and hands dry. When the air is humid, water trapped in the soil will not evaporate as quickly.

SAVINGS TIP: Find the best measure of watering needs

The best way to determine the amount of water your landscaping needs is to calculate the evapotranspiration (ET) for your area. Not a math wizard? The good folks at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension have done the formula for you! You can even use their "Home Owner" calculator to determine whether watering is needed based on Allen’s current ET.

Find more ways to control summer water use.
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