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With 60-70% of Lake Havasu City’s water currently being used on outdoor irrigation, there is great room for improvement on our outdoor water use practices! If you are wishing to conserve water like a Havasu Water Saver, looking at your outdoor water use patterns should be your top priority. Below you will find tips and tricks on how to fine-tune your landscape to be as water efficient as possible.

WATERING YOUR LANDSCAPE

Knowing how often and how long to water your plants does not have to be as complicated as it may seem. Use the following guidelines to understand how to adjust your watering schedule for your plants.

  • The first step you should take when determining your landscape watering schedule is to identify the type of plants you have. Do you have trees, shrubs, cacti/succulents, groundcovers etc.? Write down the type of plants on your landscape.
  • Next, determine if the plants you have are “high water use” plants, or if they are “desert adapted” plants. Luckily, most plants used in Lake Havasu City landscapes are desert adapted so it is likely most of your landscape is low water use. Examples of high water use plants that you may have here in Lake Havasu City include Pygmy Palms, Lantana, or fruit trees; these will certainly require more water for your landscape.
  • Third, identify how many watering stations you have, and which plants are on each specific station.
  • For each station you have on your landscape, identify the highest water use plant on that station. You will be adjusting your irrigation to provide enough water to the plant(s) that require the most water.
  • Click the link below to determine how often you need to water each station on your landscape. Always adjust your irrigation for the season!
    • For example, if you have a watering station in your front yard that contains a few Palo Verde trees (desert adapted tree), a few Texas Sage Bushes (desert adapted shrub), and a few Lantana (high water use groundcover/vine), then using the watering guidelines, you would adjust your irrigation to accommodate the highest water-use plant (in this case, the Lantana). As a high water use groundcover/vine, the Lantana would need to be watered every 7-10 days in the Spring, every 2-5 days in the Summer, every 7-10 days in the fall, and every 10-14 days in the winter. In this example, having a mixture of desert adapted plants with high water use plants is not ideal, but it happens. If your landscape contains a mixture of desert adapted plants with high water use plants, consider removing/replacing the high water use plants to save water, or be sure to adjust your bubbler head emitters so less water is coming out of the bubblers that feed your desert adapted plants.
  • Lastly, determine how long your plants should be watered each time your irrigation runs. Luckily, this step is fairly easy. The best thing you can do for your plants here in the desert is to provide them with a nice, deep watering with a longer run time. The worst thing you can do for your plants is to water them for a short amount of time frequently (for example, 5 minutes every day). Rather, watering them for a longer amount of time less frequently is ideal (for example, 20 minutes twice a week) as this will promote the plant to build deeper roots which will make it more resistant to drought and less likely to blow over during wind events.
    • A good place to start is to set a watering run time of 15-20 minutes for each watering. If your plants begin to brown, this is a sign your plants are not getting enough water. If your plants are browning significantly (especially towards the center of its leaves), increase the watering run time. For example, if you are watering 20 minutes twice a week, try increasing the watering up to 30 minutes twice a week, and see how your plants respond. Keep in mind, many plants brown a bit in Lake Havasu City during the Summer even if they are watered well; a little bit of browning is normal for many plants as they experience some sun burn in the Summer.
    • In contrast, if your plants are yellowing (again, especially towards the center of the leaves), this is a sign of overwatering. Consider scaling back the watering frequency if you begin to notice this, or close the bubbler heads to slow the flow of water being emitted on the plant. For example, if you are watering 20 minutes twice a week, consider watering 20 minutes once a week.

ADJUSTING YOUR IRRIGATION TIMER/CONTROLLER

Irrigation TimerMake sure to read the owner’s manual to understand how your individual timer works, and to understand how to adjust it. Below are some tips on how most timers can be adjusted:

  • “Auto” – this function allows your timer to turn on your irrigation system and water your plants for the timeframe you have set. After you have set your timer run time and how often to water, you will put the timer back on “auto” so it will automatically water your landscape for the time you scheduled.
  • “Start Time” – this function allows you to choose what time your bubblers will switch on. Usually a start time in the early morning is ideal for lower evaporation rates, and the ability of you or your neighbors to notice irrigation leaks.
  • “Run Time” – this function allows you to choose the duration or length of time in which your plants will be watered. It is recommended to start with a watering run time of 15-20 minutes, and adjust it based on how your plants react over time.
  • “How Often” – this function allows you to choose how often, or which days your irrigation system will turn on.
  • Again longer “run times” with less often/frequent watering is recommended!

POOLS

DRAINING POOLS & SPAS

Pools and spas, if kept in good chemical condition, only need to be drained every 2 to 3 years. Test pool and spa water frequently to maintain chemical balances. Alternatively, if you do not wish to completely drain your pool as often, another option is to leach water from your pool periodically to your landscape. This saves water for irrigation, and if done right, keeps your pool in the best chemical conditioning!

When you do decide it’s time to drain your pool, it is recommended that you drain your pool to the sanitary sewer as it allows the City to capture and reuse this precious water. To do this safely, follow the following steps:

  • Locate the sewer clean-out on your property
  • Call our local Wastewater Department (928-855-3999) 24 hours in advance to inform the department you are draining your pool to the sanitary sewer. This allows them to ensure an overflow won’t happen.
  • When you’re ready to drain your pool, remove the cap on your sewer clean-out, insert the drain hose from the pool into the sewer clean out. Insert the drain hose a few inches, and secure it so it will not pop out. Note: use caution with clean-outs that are located in the wall rather than in the ground; these have a far greater potential of causing a water back up into your home!
  • The maximum recommended discharge rate is 12 gallons per minute (720 gal/hr). However, the safe flow rate may be less, depending on the size of the drain line, distance to the sewer main, and the condition of the pipe. Most pool filter pumps will discharge too much water too fast and may cause water to backup into the yard or the house. The safest approach is to rent a submersible pump, connect it to a garden hose and slowly empty the pool. A pump that operates at 700 gallons per hour is about the right size.
  • Turn on the pump.
  • Immediately check to make sure no water is backing up into the house. Drains for showers and tubs are the first places to check.
  • If water backs up, turn off the pump immediately. You may have a blockage or the flow rate may be too high.
COVER YOUR POOL

Did you know the typical daily evaporation rate for a pool in Lake Havasu City is approximately 230 gallons? This translates to and average 83,950 gallons per year lost to evaporation for every pool in our community! A typical pool cover will reduce evaporation by approximately 95%. Do your part and cover your pool when it is not in use.

TEST FOR LEAKS

Pool floats

Periodically check your pool float. Pool floats commonly get “stuck” as they get older, and due to the high evaporation rates in Lake Havasu City, a stuck float will allow water to continue to flow into the pool without the pool ever overflowing. This often goes unnoticed by the homeowner and can lead to a high increase in water consumption.

Pool Leaks

This four-step bucket test may help you determine if you have a pool leak or a high evaporation rate.

  1. Turn off the automatic fill valve.
  2. Place a bucket on a step where the bucket rim is at least a few inches above the water line. Place a heavy weight in the bucket and add water until the water level inside the bucket is equal with the water level in the pool.
  3. Leave the bucket and pool undisturbed for several hot days, then compare the water level in the bucket to the water level in the pool.
  4. If the water level in the bucket is noticeably higher than the water level in the pool, you may be losing water to a leak. Contact a pool leak detection specialist.