Seasonal Water Saving Tips

The seasonal tips below are for irrigating in a normal year and do not take into account the current drought regulations. Please remember that effective 5/12/15, landscaping irrigation is limited to no more than the 3 assigned days per week set based on your address:

  • If your property has a street number that is even (ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8), the assigned days to irrigate are: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • If your property has a street number that is odd (ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9), the assigned days to irrigate are: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

There is also no irrigation permitted between the hours of 9am and 5pm and must be done so that there is no run off to paved areas or neighboring properties.

Winter (Dec-Feb)

Let Mother Nature do the watering for you!  Turn your controller off and let the rain do it’s thing.  Water manually if necessary or turn your controller back on if it hasn’t rained for 1-2 weeks (depending on the soil moisture level.  Now is also a good time to apply mulch.  Winter mulch application will help protect roots from temperature fluctuations, keeping them snug for the cold months!

In February, review your irrigation schedule and make repairs to the system in preparation for Spring.

— Repair sunken or bent sprinklers
— Locate and repair leaks
— Replace the back up battery in your
controller

 
Spring (March-May)

If you haven’t already done it, inspect your irrigation system to make sure nothing has broken over the winter.  Early Spring is a good time to plant new plants.  Visit contracosta.watersavingplants.com/ to find the right water saving plant for your yard! It will give them time to become established before the heat of summer is upon us.

March & April– Turn your controller back on if it hasn’t rained in the past week.  Make sure to turn it off again if it rains.  Water Lawns 2 days/week, Shrubs 1 day/week

May- Water Lawns 3 days/week, Shrubs 2 days/week

Summer (June-mid Aug)

The days are long and it can get hot! 

Just remember, your lawn and other plants will benefit more from a deeper infrequent watering schedule then they would if they were watered every day. 

Try watering your lawns 4 days per week and shrubs 2 days per week (schedule based on clay soil).

If the temperatures rise, add one day to your watering schedule.  Don’t forget to turn it back down when the temperature gets back into the 80’s & low 90’s

Remember adding time to address a brown spot not only waste water, but probably won’t fix the dry area.  Brown spots are usually caused by a problem with the irrigation system.  Run the sprinklers to inspect the area for clogged sprinklers, blocked spray or misdirected heads.  It is possible that there is a design flaw in the coverage and that hand watering the effected area is the best way to remedy the situation.

Fall (mid Aug-Oct)

Mid-August and September might feel hot to us humans, but for plants the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky.  This is more vital to the plant’s water needs then the ambient temperature.  Fall is a good time to plant new plants in you yard.  The mild weather will give them the nurturing they need to become established before the winter temperatures drop.

By the 3rd week of August, it is time to adjust your sprinklers and start gearing up for Fall!  Set your Lawns for 3 days/week and Shrubs 2 days/week.

September: Lawns- 2-3 days per week (depending on temperature and plant water needs), Shrubs- 1 day/week

October:  Lawns-2 days/week, Shrubs- off or 1 day/week (depending on temperature and plant water needs)  * Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation controller clock for the end of Daylight Savings Time!

November:  Lawns- 1day/week, Shrubs- off.  If it rains, turn your system off.  Don’t turn it back  on until it has not rained for at least a week!

Looking for ways to save even more irrigation water year round?

Here are some tips

  1. The best time to water is between 2-6am.  This minimizes evaporation and allows your plants to store up the water they need to take on the heat of the day.
  2. If your property is sloped or you have clay soil (this is most of Antioch) break your irrigation time into 3 cycles.  If you are watering 15 minutes, water 5 minute cycles with 30 minutes to an hour in between each start time.  This will give more time for the water to soak into the soil, minimizing evaporation and runoff.
  3. Mulch your landscaped areas. Make sure you have a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch on top of the soil. Mulching not only makes a garden look better, it also decreases evaporation, erosion, nourishes the soil and prevents weeds! Click here for discounts on mulch
  4. Limit the amount of turf grass in your yard. Lawns are a great place to play or just spend a summer day lying around. However, lawn is the highest landscape water user. If the only time you are on your lawn is to mow it, maybe you don’t need it! CCWD will pay you up to $1000 to remove your front lawn. Pre-inspection is required. Visit http://www.ccwater.com/l2g-cgi/index57.asp for more information or to apply.
  5. Select plants with low water needs. You can search for low water needing plants based on soil type, plant/flower color and sun needs and more at http://www.contracosta.watersavingplants.com/
  6. Plant with Natives! Planting with local natives will not only give you plants that need less water but that are also better suited for the local climate. They often require less care & maintenance then introduced plants. For more information on Natives, visit Bringing Back the Natives (www.bringingbackthenatives.net) or California Native Plant Society.