Thoughts on Water Wise Landscape Design in San Diego

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  • Post last modified:July 29, 2014
  • Reading time:4 mins read

In my last column I spent some time outlining the new rebate programs available from the San Diego County Water Authority and the State of California Water Municipality. Both are offering money back to homeowners and commercial property owners for the removal of sod and the implementation of drought friendly plantings and new irrigation.

This couldn’t be a better time for this type of program to be instituted. The CWA or County Water Authority voted last Thursday to classify our current situation as a stage 2 drought, instituting many rules about water use which are now starting to impact our daily lives.

Driveway landscaping
Some of the rules don’t have a lot of teeth in them yet like receiving a glass of water only when you ask for it at your favorite restaurant or only washing your car with either a hose that has a shut off nozzle or by using a bucket of water. However, fines are being threatened for those that disobey. Any water run-off from your property is a punishable offence of $500.00. This fine can run consecutively day after day until the problem is remedied.

Leaking irrigation or broken water mains must be repaired within 72 hours and there are now as of July 24 , new mandatory requirements that lawns and landscaping be irrigated only between certain times of the day on select days of the week. In the past, these days were based on your address and amounted to a 3 day a week irrigation schedule, usually implemented during the summer months when water usage is high.

A water hog hotline has even been published, (619 533 5211) for anyone wishing to report a water waster or scofflaw who ignores the rules and sports an emerald green lawn. In my opinion, this number is going to be very busy during the next few months. Many people love their lawns and will do anything to keep them green.

As a landscape contractor who has installed many, many lawns and new sod over the last 35 years, I have come to understand what it takes water wise during the hot summer months to keep your front grass beautiful. Daily water is truly the key, and in many circumstances when a lawn is on a South facing slope being pounded by the sun, brown spots and dry grey areas will occur right away if you don’t water again in the late afternoon for about 5 minutes during late July and August.

Following the county’s water guidelines this summer is going to leave you with a dry lawn and if you are trying to sell your property, you are going to look like a distressed seller. Some citizens in many parts of San Diego don’t care and turn the water off completely. In my daily travels doing estimates around the county, I often see many homes with dead grass in their front yards. With the new rebate policies for water conservation now available, perhaps this will help change these people’s mindsets.

I have talked about drip irrigation quite a bit in my other columns concerning water conscious landscape but I would also like to share a little personal experience with it. I have lived in the same residence in Encinitas for more than 20 years now and installed drip way back then when I moved in. Finally, some of the tubing has started to fail.
I noticed that most of the drip line that was exposed to the sun was the main culprit and would split longitudinally, allowing water to escape from the line. I was curious why these lines began to split at the same time so I also checked my water pressure with a hand gauge at the hose bib closest to the house. Sure enough, the pressure had risen over time and I had to bring the pressure back down to approximately 75 lbs. to prevent further damage to the irrigation and interior water fixtures.  This can be done by turning the adjustable bolt on the top of the pressure reducer valve counter clockwise. This valve can be found after your street water main or before the main line shut-off or ball valve near your house.



Give us a call at 760-846-2200 if you need any assistance with your water wise landscaping in San Diego county.