Time to Get Serious About Irrigation

Outdoor water restrictions are put in place to ensure an adequate supply for drinking water and fire fighting.

Hampton Road TankWater Departments do a tremendous job of providing clean, healthy water—24/7.  Maintaining water infrastructure, and keeping a close eye on weather patterns, water quality, and water levels, Water Department employees don’t necessarily police daily water use, but they certainly keep tabs on the overall supply.

Outdoor water restrictions are put in place when water levels are low, to ensure an adequate and safe supply for drinking, washing, and putting out fires.  Lawn irrigation is not a priority.

Unfortunately, despite the various water restriction messages relayed to the community, there are still many property owners who run irrigation systems in the middle of the day; the early morning; the middle of the night; and during rain events.

Whether it’s ignorance of local restrictions or just disregard, it’s irresponsible to use municipal water without considering the impact that excessive use has on the supply for the entire town.

Click here to see the latest watering restrictions in the watershed.

House-SprinklerBefore you turn on an irrigation system, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I following the town’s water restrictions?
Either you are or you’re not, it’s that simple. If you’re not sure about the restrictions, contact your local water department.

2. When was the last time the lawn was watered—or the last time it rained?
It only takes 1 inch of water per week—from irrigation or rain—to keep a lawn perfect. Over-watering leads to shallow roots, disease, insect damage, and more weeds.

3. Does my lawn even need watering?
The easiest way to check to see if your lawn needs water is to take the “step test”. Simply step on your lawn and then look at the grass where you just stepped.  If the grass stays flat, then it needs water, if it springs back, it’s fine.

4. Is my irrigation system working properly?
Check to make sure that there are no broken or leaking heads.  Also make sure that the spray is pointed at the lawn and not “running off” the driveway, street or sidewalk.

Prevent Water Pollution by Avoiding Runoff

irrigation runoff 2 for webIn general, any water that washes down the street can carry contaminants such as motor oil, lawn chemicals, and pet waste into stormdrains, where it then enters our streams, ponds, and rivers, and causes problems with water quality.

Avoid creating polluted runoff from your property by making sure that irrigation heads and sprinklers are pointed at the lawn only, and not the pavement.  It’s also helpful to redirect downspouts, so that water from your roof drains away from your driveway and toward your lawn, shrubs, rain barrel, or rain garden.

Click here to learn more about Stormwater Pollution.

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