ST. GEORGE – As summer temperatures roll in, so do area watering bans and recommendations for changing irrigation schedules in an effort to conserve water.
St. George enacted its annual 12-hour outdoor watering ban last week, restricting watering between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. That was followed by the Washington County District issuing a reminder to home and business owners to adapt their irrigation times to the annual summer schedule.
Read more: St. George enacts daytime watering ban
Washington City has also enacted daytime watering restrictions for sprinkler irrigation of lawns and landscapes between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. lasting from now until the last Sunday in October.
For county residents overall, the summer irrigation schedule went into effect Friday and will last through Aug. 31, according to a statement from the water district.
“We need to be efficient when watering our landscapes,” Ron Thompson, general manager of the water district, said in the statement. “Like other desert communities, approximately half of our residential water is used outdoors. In a water year like this one – with our sole source of water only producing 20-30 percent of its normal supply – we must be more water conscious.”
Summer schedule and recommendations
Set sprinkler and drip irrigation to run three days per week in the evening and early morning hours, between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., in accordance with city time-of-day watering ordinances.
Hand watering is recommended for dry areas.
Grass, plants, trees and shrubs are all healthier when they’re watered deeply but infrequently, which is why the district recommends watering three times a week using the “cycle and soak” method.
To implement the cycle and soak method on turf grass, run sprinklers for three distinct cycles, each about one hour apart for a few minutes per cycle. This allows water to soak deep into the lawn’s roots and also avoids runoff and water waste.
The same guiding principles apply for drip emitters on plants, trees and shrubs: water deeply and infrequently so water reaches the roots. How much water you should apply or how long you should run the cycle depends on the type of drip emitters.
Home and business owners are also encouraged to check sprinklers for overspray and adjust as needed. Drip emitters should be checked for clogs and leaks.
People who would like to learn how to water their lawns more efficiently can schedule a free water check through the Washington County Water Conservancy by calling 435-673-3617.
What about that water you keep see getting used for St. George parks and elsewhere?
St. George residents often ask if summer watering restrictions apply to water used by large facilities like parks, cemeteries, golf courses, some schools and Dixie State University.
The city’s 12-hour watering ban doesn’t apply to those areas because the water these facilities and areas use is irrigation-quality, said Rene Fleming, the city’s energy and water resources coordinator.
The system also has “much less production and storage capacity” when compared to the city’s culinary system, she said, so they like to use the water as it is available.
This water is generally made up of reused water that is a mix of Virgin River water, brackish well water and treated effluent water from the city’s waste water treatment plant.
“It is a more efficient use of our water resources to have those facilities use irrigation-quality water rather than irrigate at night with high-quality drinking water,” water officials and Fleming have previously stated.
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