A Texas A&M AgriLife Research water conservation horticulturist said home and business owners should repair and maintain sprinkler systems to save money and time while reducing wasted water resources.
“A lot of water-saving advice focuses on the indoors, but we know more water, especially in warmer months, can be saved by maintaining irrigation systems outside,” said Patrick Dickinson of Texas A&M AgriLife’s urban water program, known as Water University, in Dallas.
The message comes as part of Water University’s participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national Fix a Leak Week campaign, March 19-25, Dickinson said. The campaign encourages people to fix leaks as part of the EPA’s WaterSense initiative to label products, homes and programs that meet specific water efficiency standards.
Household leaks account for about 1 trillion gallons of potable water wasted each year, according to the EPA.
“We also know that in the warmer months, as much as 60 percent of all drinkable water used by a household is spent outside on lawns and landscapes,” Dickinson said. “So it’s critical to make sure those systems are free from leaks and running as efficiently as possible.”
He recommended inspecting lawns for unexpected wet spots when the weather is dry.
“Look for water bubbling up from the ground or pooling and running over concrete,” he said. “Repair underground leaks by simply turning off your irrigation system controller, digging around the leaking section of pipe, cutting out the punctured section and joining the remaining ends with a cheap compression coupling from any hardware store.”
A new instructional video featuring Dickinson, Sprinkler Quick Fixes, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9WMPyZetGI, instructs viewers on three sprinkler system repairs for efficient irrigation. Tips include replacing a broken sprinkler head, clearing clogged nozzles that lead to inefficient irrigation and adjusting spray streams to avoid watering sidewalks and other non-plant structures.
Dickinson also recommended ensuring all irrigation pipe and connections remain properly sealed and tightened according to manufacturer recommendations.
“It’s not hard to keep an irrigation system running efficiently,” he said. “But it does require a little time and attention. Luckily we have a whole week dedicated to just that.”
Click the irrigation tab at https://wateruniversity.tamu.edu for more tips on efficient irrigation and “quick fixes” for repairing and maintaining irrigation systems.