It’s August and hot, dry days may be coming our way. At least that’s what happened last year. With all the rain we haven’t had to use our irrigation systems for a while. We’ve had our systems turned off (hopefully) during the monsoons. Some of us are anxious to see those sprinklers throwing water on our lawns again.
Be cautious, though. Last summer when the rains ended, residential usage went from 500 million gallons to over a billion gallons. When water bills went out of sight, some outraged residents blamed leaks or misread meters for the spike.
However, the meters were correct. After checking over 1000 meters, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency found only a 1 percent discrepancy. The other 99% of the readings were accurate.
That left only one conclusion: some residents (but not most) heavily increased irrigation when the rains ended – generally to the detriment of their lawns (and pocketbooks).
Now that same pattern may occur this year, with water use rising significantly, and cost of water escalating in relation to use.
However, if you do think your water meter has been misread, you can double check the meter reading yourself. As soon as you receive your water bill, turn off all running water inside and outside your home and read your water meter. For a step-by-step guide, go the Waterworks NewsBlog at The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency. An in-depth article on how to read your water meter is posted there.
Fungus, insects, disease
St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, already saturated by unprecedented rain, are now highly susceptible to fungal diseases and insect damage. Too much water at this time makes these problems worse, not better.
Doubling water use during August is not a solution to maintaining healthy lawns. Instead, moderate watering (if it hasn’t rained), following two day-per-week Defined Irrigation Schedule that covers most of The Woodlands, monitoring rain events and turning off sprinklers during that time, and caring for your lawn in other recommended ways (irrigating no more than an inch of water a week, sharpened blades on your mower, not crew-cutting the lawn but mowing a third of the length of the grass blade, aerating, adding organic material, and following best practices) lead to a healthier lawn and much less costly water bill.