It's that time of year: As the rainy season draws to a close, many Marin residents are turning on their irrigation systems. But particularly for gardeners without smart irrigation controllers, knowing how much to water can be a challenge.
The Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) offers a free Weekly Watering Schedule that can help customers keep their landscapes healthy this summer without overwatering.
"Overwatering is one of the most common types of water waste we see," says MMWD Conservation Manager Daniel Carney. “Many people turn on their irrigation systems full tilt once the rains end. However, over the course of the summer plants' water needs will vary a lot depending on day length, temperature, humidity, wind, and other factors.”
To determine the watering schedule, MMWD uses data from a local weather station to calculate the rate of evapotranspiration—that is, how much water is being lost from plants and soil into the air.
MMWD converts this data into easy-to-follow guidelines that let customers know how many minutes they need to water—or how to adjust their automated irrigation timers—to replenish lost soil moisture. Schedules are available for three different climate zones—cool, medium, and hot—in MMWD's service area.
There are three ways to get the schedule:
* Find the schedule online at marinwater.org/watering.
* Sign up on the website to receive the schedule via email, along with helpful water-smart garden tips.
* Follow MMWD on Twitter (@thinkbluemarin) to receive the schedule via tweet using #WeeklyWateringSchedule.
Outdoor Water-Use Regulations Still in Effect
In addition to offering irrigation guidance, MMWD is reminding customers that outdoor water-use regulations remain in effect.
"Drought or no drought, these are simple, common-sense ways to save water outdoors," says Dan Carney.
Under district code, the following are prohibited:
* Irrigating ornamental landscape areas or turf grass areas with potable water more than three days per week
* Irrigating during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall
* Irrigating between 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., except for system testing and repair
* Using a hose without a shutoff nozzle
* Allowing irrigation water to run off or overspray the irrigated area
* Hosing down sidewalks, driveways, and other hard-surfaced areas
* Non-recirculating decorative fountains
Get Free Water-Wise Garden Advice
For MMWD customers in need of more advice on managing their outdoor water use, the district offers two free programs:
Conservation Assistance Program (CAP): Receive a free, customized water-use consultation for your home or business with one of MMWD’s water conservation specialists. Visit includes a check for leaks, evaluation of indoor and outdoor water use, and recommendations to help you save water and money. Call 415-945-1523 to schedule.
Marin-Friendly Garden Walk: Receive a free residential garden evaluation from a UC Marin Master Gardener. Learn about sustainable gardening practices and get water-wise tips for a beautiful, healthy landscape. Call 415-473-4204 to schedule.
Media Contact: Ann Vallee