Fall is a time of change in North Texas. Not only in our weather (hooray for cooler temps!) but also in how we water our lawn. It is also a time of change for the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) who recently announced their Stage 3 seasonal watering plan for many of our customers. The new plan, effective November 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, limits landscape watering to once every two weeks with sprinklers or irrigation systems at each service address.
Imagine a bucket full of water left in the middle of your sunny lawn in the fall. If you checked it in a week’s time you would discover that 1/2 inch of water was gone (in the summer that bucket would have lost about 1 inch of water.) To replace that 1/2 inch of water loss you need to water for 30 minutes a week in the fall.
Sounds easy enough until you consider our infamous clay soil can only absorb so much water at once. If you watered for 30 minutes straight, most of that water would end up running off your lawn which is a waste of your money and our water.
Normally our solution is to program your sprinkler system to have three starts times one morning per week of 10 minutes each which total 30 minutes. This is for our customers with spray head sprinklers. If you have a system with rotary heads (the kind that send out a long stream of water and turn slowly) you need to double that time (roughly 60 minutes a week.)
The challenge this season is that the above solution only works for our customers in Dallas, Farmer’s Branch and any other cities not effected by the NTMWD. For everyone else it is a bit more complicated.
Your lawn, like those not affected by the new NTMWD plan, still needs 30 minutes of water a week. Since you can only water once every two weeks under these new restrictions, you have to water for 60 minutes (120 if you have rotary head sprinklers) when you water. Our recommendation is to program your system to have 3 starts times in the morning of 10 minutes each which total 30 minutes, and 3 start times at night of 10 minutes each which total 30 minutes. This will get you to your 60 minutes. Those of you who followed our summer schedule will notice this is the same schedule, it’s cut in half by watering every two weeks instead of weekly summer schedule. We don’t usually like to recommend that our customers water at night, but under these new restrictions it really is the only option.
If you have a newer sprinkler system check your user’s manual to see if it has an every other week program The instructions can seem a bit harder than they really are so if you need any help please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-495-6990 and we’ll do our beset to walk you through the programming.
If your system is older and doesn’t have an every other week program, our suggestion is to simply turn your system on every other week. That is the only answer short of replacing your sprinkler controller with a newer model (the cost between $300 to $500 based on the size of your lawn.)
Be sure and visit the Village Green Resource Center for helpful links to your city watering guidelines as well as our downloadable Village Green Watering Guide. If you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact us at 972-495-6990, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form. We’d be happy to help walk you through the process to make sure your sprinkler is ready for the fall. For those who want more advanced help, we offer affordable sprinkler system inspections, tune-ups, and sprinkler control replacement that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn.