What's Smart Watering?
Smart Watering means using water best. We have plentiful water sources and customers are free to use what they need, but mastering these tips can help keep surprise water bills at bay while helping us save power and run our system greener.
Most homeowners water their lawns on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday out of habit. But if everybody waters at the same time, it creates a "traffic jam" inside the water system. Like gunning the engine of your car, this "gun it" demand adds wear-and-tear, costs more to run, and affects pressure in certain areas.
We’re asking customers to change their watering schedule to water on Tuesday, Thursday, and weekends. Water any time of day. As much as you need. No restrictions.
We are fortunate to have a stable and plentiful water supply. If we can smooth out the demand for outdoor watering evenly throughout the week, we can prolong the life of the water system, run it more efficiently, and get more value from it. Will you do your part?
Many homes in Johnson County, Kansas, are equipped with underground lawn irrigation systems. These systems help keep the grass green during the summer months, but they can also use more water than intended if they aren't set up and programmed properly. Here's some tips to keep your lawn looking great while avoiding surprises in your water bill.
- Aim your sprinklers so only your lawn is watered - not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Avoid watering during the heat of the day. During midday, water is lost to evaporation which makes the application less effective.
- Watering early in the morning and later in the evening ensures more water saturating your lawn and garden.
- Water deeply and infrequently. Deep, infrequent watering promotes deep, strong, drought-tolerant root systems.
- Don't over-water. Excess moisture can weaken the plant's root system, making it more susceptible to diseases and insect damage costing you time in money in repairing it.
- Break up your watering cycle. Shorter periods reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.
- Use a rain barrel. Learn more tips and about cost-sharing programs in our county on our Garden Tips page.
Master Your Sprinkler System
Sprinklers can cause a jump in water usage on your bimonthly water bill. Let's do the math.
Here's a typical scenario - If a house has 8 sprinkler zones, running a 15-minute cycle every other day of the week, then each zone will put out approximately 14 gallons of water per minute. In this example, after 2 months, that adds up to an ADDITIONAL 47,040 gallons of water usage on the bill. These values are approximate, but are a starting point for estimating usage on an average sprinkler system. Newer sprinkler systems, drip irrigation, or hose irrigation may operate more efficiently.
In-ground sprinkler systems irrigate quickly and can apply more water than the ground can absorb. Usually 1/4" of water per watering will fully saturate your lawn. To prevent over-watering, do a "tuna can" test - place an empty tuna can in each zone, and then measure how much water is in the can after watering to see how much is being applied.
Most importantly, don't set it and forget it! Always check your sprinkler controller's settings at least once a year, and after any power outages - many sprinkler controllers will reset to factory settings after a loss of power. It's also a good idea to walk around your yard occasionally to check for signs of leaks or over-watering.
Programming Your Sprinklers
Always double check your irrigation settings. Call your irrigation professional, refer to your owner's manual, or search under the brand name on YouTube. For assistance with reprogramming, visit the manufacturer's website. Here are several common brands:
Smart irrigation controllers can track weather and only water when your grass needs it. You can control it through an app on your phone.
Here's some additional videos to help you get your sprinkler system set up for your lawn and your budget.