Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July is the Highest Water Month

July is often the month that our lawns and landscapes require the most water. Here are a few steps to make sure you make every drop count. A perfect time to do this is before you go on vacation.

Inspect each sprinkler head and look for broken, bent or blocked sprinkler heads or nozzles.
• Broken Sprinklers: Repair or replace immediately
• Bent or Sunken Sprinklers: Use a trowel to remove soil and adjust the head so it is plumb and spraying correctly. The head should pop up high enough to spray without being blocked by the plant material.
• Broken or clogged Sprinkler Nozzles: Replace these with the correct nozzle. It is a good idea to have several spare nozzles for easy replacement)

Turn on the drip system and walk through the garden looking and listening for breaks and broken emitters.
• Traditional Drip Systems: The most common repair needed for traditional half-inch poly pipe drip with pop in emitters is broken emitters. If you find one, simply use a pair of pliers to remove it and install a “goof plug”. The goof plug has two sizes so use the size that will completely fill the hole. You can then install a new emitter a few inches away from the goof plug.
• Quadra-Bubbler Drip: The most common repair needed for these types of drip systems is the spaghetti tubing comes out of the bubbler. If the tubing is brittle at the end, you may need to snip off an inch and re-insert it. Also, if the quadra-bubbler tip is broken, you will need to replace the whole quadra-bubbler.

The following is the recommended schedule for central and east Contra Costa County.
• Lawns: For pop-up spray sprinklers water three cycles for 3 to 6 minutes, 3 to 4 days per week.
• Trees, Shrubs, Groundcovers: For pop-up spray sprinklers water three cycles for 3 to 6 minutes, 2 to 3 days per week

Friday, June 25, 2010

Your Plants' Watering Needs Change With the Seasons

As the seasons change, so do the needs of the plants and lawn in your yard.

During winter months, when days are short and usually wet, you don’t need to water you lawn, shrubs or trees at all.

During summer, when the days are long and there’s and not much rain, you need to water your yard. How much is enough to keep your grass green and healthy?

The Contra Costa Water District has a new handy guide appropriately called the “Lawn & Landscape Watering Schedule” that tells you exactly how much water you need. Most modern automated irrigation systems make it easy to change the settings each month, and the schedule guides you.

For example, in July water your lawn three or four days per week. If you have pop-up sprinklers, run three cycles of three to six minutes each, a few minutes longer if you have impact or rotor sprinklers. For trees, shrubs and groundcover, you need only two to three days per week. With pop-up sprinklers, run three cycles of three to six minutes each.

While your are on the page, sign up to get a water scheduling reminder through an e-mail each month.

Water Your Plants Early

What’s the best time of the day to water? Set your automatic sprinkler system to water between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. The sun is down, the temperature is cooler and the wind is usually calm. This allows the water to do the work you want it to, soak to the roots and nourish your plants.

If you’re watering during the day, up to 30 percent of the water your spraying is lost to evaporation.

Coupons Help You Save Water & Money

CCWD has water-saving coupons online for car washes, and buying mulch.

The car washes all recycle their water, and mulch is the best way to save water in your yard and prevent weed growth.

Look for the blue “Smart Car Wash” and brown “Mulch-Mulch-Mulch” buttons on, find the deals that most appeal to you, print out the coupon and you’ll start savings water right away.

Free Home Water Surveys

Have you had one of our free home water surveys? This is a great way to start saving water immediately.

One of our water conservation experts will do everything from measure how much water your sprinklers are using, to check for leaks in your toilet and tell you about our water saving rebates for washers and toilets.

It’s absolutely free, and you’ll start saving water before our expert leaves your home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Page Is Resource For Grey Water, Rain Water Uses

We just put up a new resource page in the Conservation section of the CCWD web site that has resources for alternative ways to save water.

Many people are taking a second look at collecting grey water -- which is water from your washing machine or shower -- and using what is normally waste water to irrigate your yard.

In addition, though the Contra Costa climate is not ideal for it, many are also looking at "harvesting" rain water for their irrigation needs. If you collect rain water, you can use the water for your garden when skies are clear.

CCWD offers the new page only as a resource, and offers no rebates or incentives for these water-saving alternatives. But if you can manage these resources carefully, and watch your expenses, you can save some money and some water.

Home Water Surveys Are Free!

CCWD's free home water surveys will help you save water immediately.

Our trained water conservation experts will come to your home, and work with you inside and outside your house to show you how to save water.

They'll check your toilets for leaks, install water-saving devices on your kitchen sink, tell you how much water your irrigation system uses and tune the system so that your lawn, trees and plants will stay green...and a lot more.

Sign up online.

We'll Remind You To Change Your Sprinkler Timers

We have a new service that will send you an e-mail reminder each month on how much you should be watering your lawn, trees and shrubs.

For example, in June, we recommend:

Lawns & High Water Use Plants – 3 to 4 days per week

Trees, Shrubs, and Ground Covers - 2 days per week

This is the same schedule professional landscapers use to keep water and costs under control.

Sign up online.