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The original item was published from 8/18/2022 10:22:33 AM to 11/1/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: August 18, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Irrigating During Drought: Tips for Efficiency

Water experiment visual from University of Reading

High temperatures and humidity can stress your landscape and it can be tempting to irrigate every day. But in drought conditions, it’s critical we reduce our water use and be as efficient as possible. 

This video, shows an experiment done by a meteorologist at the University of Reading, and gives a quick example of how water can be absorbed into the ground during drought conditions. When the soil is very dry, it can take time for water to be absorbed. But changing up your watering cycle can make a big difference. (External Link)

Here are some simple, easy-to-remember tips when irrigating, especially during heatwaves: 

  • If you can see the sun, you shouldn’t see your sprinklers on – Water evaporates quicker when it is warm. If you irrigate during warm times, such as after 9 or 10 a.m. or before dusk, you may have to irrigate twice as long. Irrigate in the early morning hours or closer to dusk to take advantage of the moisture in the air. Also, keep in mind wind conditions. Turn off your sprinklers during wind events.
  • Cycling your irrigation will be more efficient – Instead of watering for a solid 10 minutes, consider turning on your system or a station in your yard for 2-3 minutes, give it time to rest (5-10 minutes minimum), and for water to absorb into the ground. Then irrigate again for another 2-3 minutes. This gives the ground time to absorb the water and pushes it deeper into the roots. You want the roots to have water, not the surface. 
  • Make sure your sprinklers are aimed at the landscape, not the sidewalk or driveway – Do a quick check to make sure the water is hitting the landscape, not hardscape areas. Sidewalks won’t grow, and watering pavement and hardscape will cause erosion over time. 

These easy tips can help to make your irrigation more efficient and help to conserve water during high temperatures. Now is also a great time to consider taking out any turf that you don’t want. Rebates are available from the San Diego County Water Authority ( for all customers) and the County of San Diego (for unincorporated areas) for $2 - $4 per square foot to replace turf. Learn more about rebates and other conservation tips at

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