Fri 10 Apr 2015
To help meet the state mandate to reduce water use by 25 percent this year, Valencia Water Company today announced it is offering a comprehensive suite of rebates and programs so customers can easily and quickly improve their lawn and garden irrigation systems.
With mandatory watering restrictions also still in place for the entire Santa Clarita Valley, making improvements to outdoor watering systems is critically important for homes, businesses and common landscaped areas, water officials said.
“Some of the biggest water waste in the valley comes from outdated sprinklers, too much water pressure in irrigation systems and from overwatering our lawns and gardens,” said Matt Dickens, Valencia Water Company’s Resource Conservation Manager. “With state water supplies remaining at critically low levels, we are asking all customers to take the most appropriate steps to further reduce water use. Some of the biggest savings can be achieved by upgrading old irrigation systems to more efficient ones.”
A seriously low snowpack has California entering the fourth year of drought. Governor Brown recently issued the state’s first mandatory water rationing plan, requiring urban areas to reduce water use by 25 percent from 2013.
“Outdoor watering is where we can obtain some of the biggest savings,” Dickens said. “Improving efficiencies can save tremendous amounts of water without impacting lifestyle.”
Valencia Water Company customers will receive in the mail information about three options to improve their irrigation systems.
The first option is to convert irrigation systems for non-turf areas including gardens, flower beds, shrubs, and trees to drip irrigation. Spray-head systems for these types of areas are generally inefficient and can result in water waste. The rebate, which amounts to 25 cents per square foot of landscape that is converted, helps homeowners with installing drip systems that put water exactly where it’s needed – at the root systems of shrubs, trees, flower beds and food crops.
Drip conversion rebates are very timely, given many customers are taking advantage of lawn-replacement rebates, or are replanting with less-thirsty shrubs and flowers.
“When lawns are replaced with drought-tolerant landscapes, the irrigation systems need to be converted, too,” Dickens said. “You should not use the same spray-style sprinklers because they often result in a significant waste of water for drought-tolerant landscapes.”
Even well-established plants that may not be considered “drought tolerant” can easily thrive with drip systems, he said.
The second option is for a more complete irrigation makeover. Valencia Water Company offers a 75 percent rebate for select high-efficiency nozzles and a 50 percent rebate for pressure-regulating devices to create the most efficient irrigation system for lawns. High-efficiency nozzles will send water out in streams, which place water more directly onto lawns and at a slower pace to be better absorbed into the soil.
“Typical fan-style lawn sprinklers are very wasteful. They simply send out too much water too fast,” Dickens said.
The third option is to obtain a set of free nozzles from freesprinklernozzles.com. Under this program, customers are limited to the specific brand of nozzles offered by the website. Dickens advises residents who switch to stream-style lawn sprinkler nozzles to also install a pressure-regulating device. High-efficiency nozzles work best with pressure regulating bodies or master pressure regulators.
“Switching to a more-efficient irrigation system will also require some fine-tuning of watering schedules,” Dickens said. Drip systems and rotator-style lawn sprinklers put water out at a slower pace – which means adding more minutes to your run time.
“This may sound counter-intuitive, but the end result actually saves water and improves the overall health of our landscapes,” Dickens said.
As a member of the Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers, Valencia Water Company customers also are eligible to receive a free weather-based irrigation controller by attending a landscaping class. Valencia Water Company customers also can receive a free water survey of their home. Rebate forms and more details are available on the Valencia Water Company website www.valenciawater.com or by calling 661-294-0828.