Watering Restrictions and Irrigation: How Does It Work

Posted on: January 30, 2014

When a city like Austin has been under drought restrictions as long as we have, it bears reviewing from time to time, what the rules are and why. By and large the citizens of Austin do a great job of water conservation. It can be trying at best when you’re trying to keep up the health of your trees and plantings, especially in a new landscape design. The City of Austin has to keep up its enforcement to insure that residents and commercial businesses alike continue to observe the Stage Two Watering Restrictions that have been in effect since September 2012.

Currently you can be found in violation of Subsection B of the Drought Code if you are found violating the following measures:

  1. You fail to repair a controllable leak, such as a leaking valve, a broken pipe, or a sprinkler head;
  2. You operate a sprinkler system with a broken head, a head out of adjustment or spraying a non-absorbent area;
  3. Allowing water to flow and puddle up in an area that is either extending a distance into the street of 50 feet or greater, or puddling greater than .25 inch.

Obviously, this requires diligence on the part of the homeowner or business owner’s part, to make certain that one’s drip irrigation system stays in top repair. This benefits water conservation, expense and avoids a costly fine. We’re concerned that our customers also look at what other measures might aid in conservation measures.

Understanding the Drought Measure in Austin

The overall drought measure is a simple one to understand, even for a newcomer to the area.  You can water one day per week. If you have a hose end system, and your address is an even number, you water on Sunday for a residence; Monday if you have an odd number address. If you have a drip system, and an even address, your day is Thursday; if an odd address, your day is Wednesday. Commercial systems with even addresses water on Tuesday and with odd addresses water on Fridays.

But what happens if you’re thinking of installing a new yard? Something that just won’t make it with a one day a week watering could be in for bad luck, right? There are some alternatives. One is to apply to the city for a variance and present a case for why and how you will water.

Gray Water

Another water-wise feature is to consider turning your drip irrigation over to a gray water system. This is a particularly attractive alternative for new landscape as you are relying on water conservation from your own home, and you are not constrained by the drought conservation limitations. There is an immediate benefit of drip irrigation from conservation of water by lack of evaporation into the air from hose-end irrigation.

Gray water irrigation involves diverting your water from laundry, showers and dishwashing directly to your landscape watering system. You can save 40 to 90 gallons of water daily and this can be diverted either directly to the landscape or to a tank and irrigation system. Costs vary depending on the system you choose.

Gray water is a tried and true alternative that will free you from the restrictive watering limitations with only a few small limitations to your lifestyle, like using biodegradable soaps and installing a diversion system. Consider how important water conservation is to you.