Recognizing problems in an irrigation system and flagging them for repair is the first step to more efficient watering. Some repairs are simple and can be completed by a homeowner. Some issues are more complex and require an irrigation professional. To assist customers with evaluating and identifying issues in their irrigation systems Cobb County Water System’s Water Efficiency Program has free Inspect, Direct, Connect flags that are available for customers. They can be picked up at Cobb Water, all of our outreach events and the Cobb County Extension office or they can be mailed by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for Irrigation Inspection and Repair
Plano, TX Irrigation Module. Plano has very similar soils to Georgia. This irrigation interactive module prepared by the City of Plano has excellent tips on identifying and repairing common irrigation issues. It also has a helpful section on scheduling your irrigation timer. Read more information at learn2livegreen.com
Ewing Irrigation Video Channel. Short videos covering various topics from troubleshooting to repair and maintenance. Watch the videos on Youtube
Irrigation systems require routine maintenance and inspections, like any other part of your home. Mismatched sprinkler heads, over spray onto driveways and sidewalks, broken sprinklers, leaking valves, and cracked pipes can easily waste thousands of gallons of water a month. These malfunctioning systems not only waste water, but damage your plants by over or under watering plant material. Knowing how to set the timer and maintain your irrigation system is as essential as understanding a home heating and cooling system.
Cobb County’s Water Efficiency Program offers this at Home Irrigation System Audit to help homeowners better understand their system. Ideally this audit should be done annually before running your system for irrigation season. A complete audit by a certified landscape irrigation auditor is recommended at least every 2 years and prior to starting the system after an extended.
There are simple ways to save water outdoors. Try these simple Tips to reduce water use.
- Irrigate in the early AM or after dewfall. The ground is the most receptive to water, and loss due to evaporation and wind is minimized.
- Adjust your sprinkler system. Make sure the heads are not directed at the pavement, but are only watering plant material.
- Group plants with similar water needs together.
- Use drip, soaker hoses, or micro-irrigation on shrubs and ornamental plants.
- Use at least 2-inches of course mulch around plantings, be careful not to mound mulch around the trunks of trees leave at least a 2-inch diameter around the trunk free of mulch to prevent disease.
- Raise the blade on your lawn mower to 3-inches. Leaving your grass a little taller lessens its water requirements.
- Have your soil tested to determine its composition and needed nutrient supplements.
- Amend the top 12-inches of your soil before planting. This will increase the moisture holding capacity in the soil and encourage deep root growth.
- Plants are great actors. Check them for signs of stress (wilting leaves and brown edges) in the early morning or late evening. If they show signs of stress water them.
- Have your irrigation system audited by a certified irrigation auditor.
- Use a bucket instead of a hose when washing your car.
- Cap off irrigation to established shrub beds; they will rarely need supplemental irrigation.
- Use a rain barrel to catch runoff from your roof to use for irrigation. Use a rain gauge. Most plants need about 1-inch of water per week including rainfall.
- Water deeply once a week. Frequent watering encourages shallow root growth.
- Plant the right plant in the right place. Make sure you know the environment best suited for the plant you have selected. Shade-loving plants require a lot of water when planted in full sun.
Pool Best Practices
The key to saving water and enjoying your pool for the summer is proper maintenance. Pools can lose a significant amount of water during peak summer temperatures. A pool cover can save approximately 15,000 gallons of water during pool season. Cobb County recommends covering your pool during the offseason and treating the water at the start of pool season. Draining the pool and refilling can be costly, wastes water, and can compromise water quality in the receiving water bodies. Cobb County does not offer any credits on pool filling unless it is associated with a repair.
For more information on how to enjoy your pool and still preserve our water resources download our Pool Maintenance Best Management Practices Guide.
In Cobb County, we use about 60% more water in the spring and summer on outdoor uses. In metro Atlanta, the water used outdoors is especially valuable. Due to our granite bedrock, the outdoor water used for irrigation does not return to our water bodies for reuse. Irrigation systems can use up to 50 gallons of water a minute. This can consume a lot of water and drive up water bills rapidly. It is important to have your irrigation system maintained by a certified irrigation professional. There are simple ways to reduce your outdoor watering while still maintaining your landscape.
Cobb County’s Water Efficiency Program offers information and resources to help you maintain your yard while saving water and money. Cobb County offers a free outdoor water efficiency kit to help you monitor rainfall and soil moisture. If you are interested in a free outdoor kit please contact the Water Efficiency Office.