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General

This year’s transition from spring to summer is featuring intense heat, and despite a quick occasional storm, not much precipitation. That combination is producing a spike in water demand. ECCV bases its water production on demand. As more water gets used, more water gets put into the system. Here’s how production varied between May 2020 and May 2019:

 

 

That amounts to a nearly 60 percent increase in water production compared to last May. The good news is that right now ECCV’s renewable water storage space is full or near full. The catch: a hot spring has melted much of the mountain snowpack.

The impact of a quick, early melting of mountain snowpack is that most of the runoff from that snow is already flowing down river basins. As water gets used, there may not be a lot more coming into the basin. Think of it like getting a lump sum payment versus being paid in installments over time. It’s certainly possible to live off the lump sum for an extended period of time if you closely monitor your spending and stick to a budget.

The same is true for the water supply. We’re now arriving at what are typically the months with the highest water demand. It’s possible that we’ll need to get through the summer with the supply we currently have on hand.

With more heat, and potentially dry weather in store, there are some simple things we can all do to help conserve, especially with outdoor watering. First, stick to ECCVs three-day per week watering schedule. Only water on your watering days.

Watering in cycles is also a great way to conserve. Specifically, use the cycle and soak method. This involves watering in three cycles with a one-hour break in between each cycle. If you’ve ever poured water on dry soil you’ve likely noticed it starts to pool pretty quickly. The soil can only absorb so much water at a time. Cycle and soak gives the soil time to drink in more water, and push that water deeper. That allows for deeper root growth for your grass which helps it withstand hot, dry days.

 

 

Finally, make sure you’re adjusting your sprinkler system’s watering times as the summer progresses. Different types of sprinkler heads emit water at different rates. For example, in July, it’s recommended you water for six minutes per cycle if you have fixed spray sprinkler heads. If you have rotary nozzles, it’s recommended you water for 15 minutes per cycle. 

By sticking to the watering schedule, using cycle and soak, and adjusting cycle times throughout the summer, we can maintain healthy lawns and gardens while conserving water.

ECCV’s Water Efficiency Specialist can also serve as a great resource. If you would like to attend an upcoming, virtual H20, Now You Know session that covers multiple outdoor watering topics, send an email to conservation@eccv.org. You can also email watering questions using the same address. And if you’re looking for quick, do-it-yourself ways to conserve, you can find a number of fact sheets and checklists in ECCV’s Customer Conservation Center .