Proper irrigation practices to save money and conserve water this spring

KCBD Evening Newscast 6 p.m. 3/18/2019 Irrigation

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Spring begins March 20, and with the change of season comes a change in the way you should care for your lawn or landscape.

Christina Reid is the county extension agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. She said spring in West Texas means erratic weather conditions.

“One day we can be below freezing, which means you don’t need to be watering during that time period. Or, the next day we could have eighty-degree temperatures and it’s really windy, which the wind helps in the evaporation process and can really dry out the soil faster,” Reid said.

Because of this, it is important to check your water irrigation controller regularly. Doing so will save you money and conserve water.

Reid said one of the poor practices we see most often during this season is water run-off.

“A, that’s a fine-able offense. B, you’re wasting money. You can literally watch your dollars go into the gutter, but C you’re still not helping the health of your lawn or your landscape,” Reid said.

Reid said there is something you can do to lessen water run-off. It’s called a “soak and cycle” test.

Water is only absorbed for the first ten minutes, so instead of running a particular zone for the hour you usually would.. “Run it for twenty minutes, and then let it soak for thirty, and then run it again for another twenty. And, then continue that cycle until you’ve got a deep watering,” Reid said.

But, proper irrigation practices run deeper than personal savings. Reid said the only water source in West Texas is the Ogallala Aquifer.

“All of our water, including our landscape irrigation water comes from that aquifer,” Reid said, “and, it’s not necessarily being replenished at a rate that’s sustainable.”

She said it is up to all of us to make sure we are using it wisely. Almost 50% of all irrigation water that goes through your sprinkler system is wasted.

“So, literally if someone uses two hundred gallons twice a week, that would be four hundred gallons. Two hundred of that is completely wasted, they might as well have not even tried applying it,” Reid said.

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