Santa Cruz’s wet season wasn’t very wet at all. In fact, we are coming off of the driest wet season Santa Cruz has endured in seven years. As of this week, the Santa Cruz Water Commission has sent its recommendation to City Council to enact Stage 1 of the city’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan. If this passes, that will mean a 10% water usage reduction for its residences. What’s one of the easiest ways to have an impactful cutback on your home’s water usage? Smart landscaping!

Irrigation Management and Water Management

Most people are actually overwatering their plants. One way to know if you’re accidentally making the same mistake? Watering your landscape to the point the water pools or runs off. If this is happening, you’ll need to manage the run times on your controller. Make sure you are checking and adjusting these monthly as the weather and seasons change.

Another important watering factor is having the right irrigation for the right areas. While your lawn or trees may need a specific concentration, different flowers and plants will require less or more hydration. For example, changing out sprinklers to drip irrigation in shrub or plant areas can have a huge effect on your overall landscaping water consumption.

When mother nature does decide to grant us some rainfall, take advantage! Install a rain sensor on your controller to make sure you aren’t watering during a rain event and wasting precious water.

An additional concern to watch out for is overspray onto hardscape services. Reduce the sprinkler reach where you can see wasted water on areas like decks, driveways and patios.

System Maintenance

An easy approach to cutting down on wasted H20 is changing out old sprinklers for new low-water-use heads such as MP rotators. These have a multi-trajectory rotating stream delivery system that are great for water conservation.

Additionally, make sure there are no minor leaks in your system, such as a sprinkler head leaking from the seal.

Plant & Lawn Maintenance

By keeping your plants and lawn in a continuously healthy state, they won’t need large amounts of water. With routine care and maintenance, you can support your landscaping’s overall vitality with lower demand for water replenishment.

One way you can achieve a healthy grass is by aerating your lawn. This creates small reservoirs for the water to be stored in, making the most out of when it is watered.

A few of your plants may be established to the point of not needing supplemental irrigation, including many native and drought-tolerant plants. However, some may be on the same valve that do still need the water. If you can recognize which specific plants that no longer need supportive watering, you can close off those valves and cut down on your usage.

Water conservation will continue to be an important civic duty here in California. Do your part by staying conscious of your water usage, and what better way to start than with your landscaping!?