Spruce up your sprinkler system and save money with these 5 common-sense irrigation tips

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Last summer was one for the record books – weeks of triple-digit temperatures, long stretches without rain, enormous water demand – and high water bills for some customers.

EPA WaterSense estimates leaks and broken sprinkler heads waste at least 25,000 gallons of water – and hundreds of dollars – over a six-month irrigation period. Proper system maintenance before activating your system for the season can prevent surprises on your water bill while conserving our precious water resources.

Now is the perfect time to spruce up your system with these simple steps:

1. Inspect

Check your system for clogged, broken, or missing sprinkler heads. Cracks in pipes can lead to costly leaks, and broken sprinkler heads waste water and money. College Station water customers can also get free landscape irrigation checkups. Visit cstx.gov/water to learn more. If repairs are needed, and you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself, hire a licensed irrigator.

2. Connect

Examine points where sprinkler heads connect to pipes or hoses. You might have a leak if water is pooling in your landscape, or you have large soggy areas. One as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste about 6,300 gallons of water a month.

3. Direct

Are you inadvertently watering the driveway, house, or sidewalk instead of your yard? Redirect the sprinklers to ensure you’re watering only the landscape. New irrigation systems are required to direct spray away from impervious areas such as sidewalks and streets. In you plan to install a new system, you need a permit from the city. For more information, call 979-764-3570.

4. Schedule

Don’t set and forget your irrigation controller. Make sure it’s programmed correctly. Familiarize yourself with the settings and adjust the watering schedule regularly for seasonal weather conditions. Even in the summer, watering two days per week is enough if done properly.

5. Select

If It’s time to replace your irrigation controller, select a WaterSense-labeled controller and take the guesswork out of scheduling. These controllers adjust watering schedules based on weather and landscape conditions. The EPA WaterSense program estimates that 220 billion gallons of water could be saved annually if every home in the United States with an automatic sprinkler system had a WaterSense-labeled controller.

Brazos Valley WaterSmart

It’s also a great idea to sign up for free weekly weather-based watering recommendations at bvwatersmart.tamu.edu. The award-winning service has helped College Station and Bryan residents save thousands of gallons on their water bills.

Simple practices paired with new technology can make your irrigation system more efficient while lowering your water bill, reducing run-off, and eliminating waste.

About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. Jennifer was appointed to the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group in March 2021, serving as a voting representative for municipal water interests. A native of Fremont, Calif., she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M.

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