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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Jun 17

Landscaper Conversations

Posted on June 17, 2016 at 10:12 AM by Ann Vallee

My former boss at MMWD, Denis Poggio, called me this week to check in on how things are here in Lassen. Our conversation soon turned to landscaping, which is no surprise since both our passions fall into this realm.

drip system
Have you inspected your irrigation system lately?
Irrigation was the focus of our discussion and the potential water savings that can be realized with an efficiently running system. He spoke of the detailed inspection he just performed on his own drip system. It was a system he deemed very functional … until he realized it was emitting water in areas that didn't need it due to a leak at a connection. One repair lead to another as he discovered further leaks and flaws during his investigation. Despite his findings, the plants were still getting water. Denis knew utilizing a drip system was efficient for his garden, but the leaks made it ineffective for water savings. His mission soon corrected the breaks and leaks.

This exercise shows why we both believe routine system checks are critical. We tend to forget that irrigation systems are as mechanical as our cars. Every 5,000 miles the oil needs to be changed on my car. Timing belts, brakes, tires, and other mechanical parts require equal attention to maintain a safe and well-functioning vehicle. While safety is not so much an issue with irrigation, proper maintenance has everything to do with it all functioning well.

Have you inspected your irrigation system lately? It requires a bit of sleuthing but can reveal interesting tidbits that can help you save water. By ensuring that the proper amount of water is getting to the root zones, regular inspections can save your plants as well.

Start the examination by turning on each valve individually, then follow the water! After a valve is turned on, check to see if there is any water escaping where it shouldn't be. Check for water leaking around the valve or at the base of each sprinkler head. Are you sprinklers reaching out and irrigating to the other sprinkler nozzles close by? That is good head to head coverage! If not, what do you need to do to make that happen? Or are your sprinklers shooting out into the street or a neighbor's yard? Correct by adjusting the direction the nozzle is pointing. If you have a drip system, check for emitters that may have popped off. See if the connectors are tight and the end caps are secured. Also be certain that emitters aren't clogged, preventing water from reaching your plants.

After you follow the water on one valve, turn it off and go to the next valve until all irrigation in the garden has been inspected. A good job and water saved!

With that said, it just started raining outside and my sprinklers are running! Rain shutoff devices are needed!

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