Conserving Water: Be Wise When Running Your Sprinklers

Canada has abundant wetlands and numerous summer storms, so it may seem to you that water is plentiful. But when the winters are dry, water can be scarce during the summer. Many Canadians still view water as a plentiful resource because water costs in Canada are lower than other developed countries. However, because the government fears that resources are being depleted and misused, many provinces and communities are pleading for wise water usage. You will wonder what that means for your own sprinklers. Here are some guidelines for conserving water while using your sprinkler system

Have Your Sprinklers Serviced And Repaired

A built-in sprinkler system for your grass and plants is convenient, but you will need to make sure it is maintained after installation. When sprinklers are not repaired, their efficiency is decreased for some of the following reasons:

  • The sprinkler heads may be cracked or bent. This causes increased pressure in the water line, or directs the water flow away from the grass, instead of towards it. Therefore, all the water that would go to the plants is now being wasted.
  • The heads may be broken off. When a sprinkler head breaks off, the water no longer sprinkles, but gushes from the sprinkler head. If all your other heads are working, you might shrug it off, but gallons of water could be wasted daily if the head is not replaced. 
  • The line between heads could have a leak. If the line between heads is not intact, water leaks into the ground, instead of water plants. The lowered pressure in the system may also decrease the flow of the sprinklers overall, making them less effective so that you will need to run them longer. 

You can prevent these problems by having your sprinklers properly winterized each year, and by having a professional tune them up before you begin using them during the summer season. 

Use Pre-Programming Wisely

One of the beauties of built-in sprinkler systems is that you can put them on a timer so that they turn off and on automatically. However, just because your sprinklers turn on by themselves, doesn't mean you shouldn't ever change the settings or operate them manually. You should ignore the pre-programming when it rains. Your don't need to run your sprinklers when Nature is providing for the needs of your plants. Be responsible and turn off the sprinklers when rain is in the forecast.

Another consideration that should affect your pre-programming is what time of day you choose to run the sprinklers. Avoid running your sprinklers in the afternoon and evening, as the heat of the sun will evaporate some of the water before it has time to reach the roots of the plants, meaning you'll need to run the sprinklers longer in order for your plants to get the water they need. Instead, choose to run your sprinklers in the early morning, before the day has warmed up, so that the water can leach deeply into the soil. 

Water Correctly

Finally, correct watering will also conserve water. You might think your plants and grass need frequent water every day-- sometimes more than once a day. But, watering plants frequently and for short periods of time actually makes them more susceptible to drought damage because this style of watering discourages deep root growth. Water needs time to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plants, so the short daily water won't be very effective.

Instead, Space out your watering to once every few days, or even once per week if there has been rain, and allow the plants to have a nice, long soak. This way, you'll use less water and your plants will be more healthy in the long run.