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Despite Downpour, Lawn Watering Continues

Despite Downpour, Lawn Watering Continues

Posted - Apr. 21, 2004 at 9:46 p.m.



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John Daley reporting After the soaking rains we've had--there's absolutely no reason to water your landscape. Despite that--we've had no problem finding people watering in the rain.

Question: How much H2O is wasted when sprinklers are watering a lawn on the same April night we got a drenching rain?

Answer: 100%. There was no need to water in Salt Lake last night, though that didn't stop it from happening.

Maggie Wolf, Utah State University Extension Office: “We consider it wasteful to water in April and the recommended times to start watering would be more like May."

One big problem: automatic timers, which one study found use 47 percent more water outdoors than homes without, mostly because timers are not reset with seasonal changes.

Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City, Water Conservation Coordinator: "The problem is a lot of people set them, or their lawn care company sets them in April for July. So they're watering in April like it's July and they don't need to."

So what if you are watering...even lightly?

If you water once every seven days, and have six sprinkler sets, with six sprinkler heads per set, and water just ten minutes per set, by the end of the month you would have put 8.4 inches of water on your lawn. This early in the year your lawn doesn't need ANY of that water.

The typical Wasatch Front household over-waters their landscape by as much as fifty percent, and any water wasted comes from our already low reservoirs.

Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City Water Conservation Coordinator: "We never know when the drought is going to end. By doing the right thing we can forestall tougher measures in the future."

Another option--replace lawn with a much less thirsty landscape. Typically an established water-wise yard only needs water once a month during the hottest summer months, and it uses roughly five percent of the water of the same-sized grass lawn.

On Utah's Division of Water Resources web page is a real-time way to tell if you need to water your lawn.

It factors in rain in the last 24 hours and last seven days, the 24 hour high and low temperature, as well as humidity, wind, and sun. It comes up with an irrigation requirement.

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