By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
With many modern conveniences as intuitive as they’ve become, like the lights in your house being programmable and controlled from your phone, it seems lawn irrigation should also be just a matter of setting and forgetting.
However, “Many people don’t check up on their controllers’ programming every couple of months,” said Ken Futrell, of Ewing Irrigation. “Homeowners may increase or decrease the time that the system runs, but not actually check to make sure the true water needs are met – but not exceeded – which can lead to wasted water.”
If you need help calibrating your lawn irrigation system, it could be well worth your time to visit the free Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Lush and Lean 2-part Workshop “Home Irrigation” on Thursday, May 2nd and Thursday, May 9th.
Futrell, along with Leslie Kryder, of Spring Rains Consulting, LLC, will discuss the basic checks to optimize the home irrigation system, how to program SMART and conventional controllers, and the basics of irrigation scheduling. Without this kind of help, you may be leaving money on the table and water swamping some unhappy plants.
Controllers are built for the needed environment, but the newest SMART controllers consider issues like “evapotranspiration rates,” which can vary depending on where you live. “Evaporation may be higher in the mountains and open areas, with more wind, than in the suburbs,” Futrell explains. “Consider also when looking at your yard where the sun hits during the day, and where areas are shaded. Water use would be different.”
Futrell also recommends a yearly check of the whole system so broken sprinkler heads don’t surprise you. “You don’t want to accidentally be spraying your neighbor’s house or yard, plus you’ll more likely to catch leaks,” he said.
All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave, upstairs in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at www.las-cruces.org/WaterConservation
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Ken Futrell, Ewing Irrigation in El Paso, shares irrigation information and SMART controller suggestions with residents who attended last year’s Las Cruces Utilities’ Spring Stroll.