The District of Peachland offers hints to reduce watering needs
Posted December 2005
The following hints will help both residents and growers assess their watering practices over the last growing season and consider improvements for next year.
Having an automatic, underground sprinkler system is a great step towards watering efficiently, but there are a number of things residents can do to ensure these systems are operating at peak efficiency:
- Check sprinkler heads regularly for damage; a broken head can waste water while leaving that zone under-watered.
- Regularly check that sprinkler heads are properly adjusted so they do not overlap, are not watering the same area twice, and are not watering the driveway or sidewalk.
- Turn your irrigation system off in wet weather, or better yet, install a rain sensor on your system so when it rains heavily overnight, your automatic sprinklers will not come on needlessly.
- Adjust your sprinkler zones according to the local conditions and types of plants within your yard. For example, a well-shaded corner will need much less water than an area exposed to full sun.
For a grower, irrigation is more than just maintaining a lawn and yard for personal enjoyment, it is a business. As such, maintaining a sprinkler system in good working order makes sense because it helps to keep the business running and also helps the community conserve water. It’s in everyone’s best interests to keep agricultural water use efficient. For more tips on conserving water on the farm, click here.
Understanding the type of soil you have and what plants will work best in it, can save you a great deal of trouble and conserve water. Talk with a garden expert about your soil and complementary plants. This way, you can achieve the best possible results with the least amount of maintenance and watering.
Peachland residents are required to adhere to the district’s watering restrictions. Residents will be informed of the restrictions each year. Information is also available at the district office or on the district website. Watering restrictions deliberately prohibit watering during the hottest time of day to limit evaporation. To improve water efficiency even further, residents are discouraged from irrigating on windy days or over-irrigating already-moist soil.
Agricultural users can help both their crops and the community water system by planning irrigation at the best possible times. Scheduling irrigation based on soil moisture, precipitation, and particular crop needs will ensure the most efficient use of water.
While there are a number of instruments available for measuring soil moisture content, the simplest way is the Hand Feel method. Simply grab a handful of soil and squeeze it into a ball. In this way, you can compare from one day to the next just how dry your soil is before watering again. Using an auger, you can dig down to check deeper layers of soil. You can get more information on the Hand Feel method, and other tips on determining soil moisture and scheduling irrigation, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Water Conservation Factsheet entitled Irrigation Scheduling Techniques (Order No. 577.100-1).
The amount of irrigation required depends not only on soil and environmental conditions, but also on the type of crop being grown. Also, watering practices can affect how your crops develop. For example, watering a lawn with great frequency can result in a shallow root system. This will leave the lawn vulnerable to dry conditions, making it actually require more water. Additional information can be found in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Water Conservation Factsheet entitled Soil Water Storage Capacity and Available Soil Moisture.
For more information contact the District of Peachland at 250-767-2647 or visit www.peachland.ca.