CONSERVATION CALENDAR

Spring 

Water leaks can occur during the winter months owing to frozen pipes.  This is the time of year when residents start thinking about reactivating their drip irrigation systems, which are notoriously prone to leaks. 

 

Spring conservation tips:

It is recommended that customers check all areas of their home and yard for water leaks.  Please recall that customers are responsible for all leaks on the house or business (customer) side of the meter, including the buried pipe from the meter to the house.

  • Inspect drip irrigation systems for any leaks or malfunctions due to winter freezing and deterioration.

Summer

Trees and shrubs are beginning to leaf out and even some bulbs and early spring flowers are starting to bloom.  That is the first indication that you need to start thinking about water conservation.  Household water conservation efforts are important; but, average customer water demand doubles in the summer months owing to irrigation of gardens and landscaping.  Thus, outdoor water use conservation is critical from May through August.

New Mexico has been experiencing a severe drought for over five years.  Always prepare for a summer of drought conditions and water limitations.

In addition to the conservation tips provided below, remember that the “timing” of your water use is nearly as important as reducing water use.  Help us reduce peak water demand periods by avoiding, to the extent possible, high water use on weekends and holidays (typical peak demand days).  Schedule your high water-use activities (e.g., outdoor watering, weekly laundry, etc.) on weekdays.

 

Summer conservation tips:

  • Select plants that are drought tolerant and appropriate to this region and microclimate. Consider native and xeric plants and hardscapes (rock, stones and sculptures). Click on the attached list of low water use plants for the Santa Fe area.

  • Group plantings with similar watering needs together.

  • Mulch plantings heavily.

  • Avoid watering on windy days and during the middle of the day.  Early morning (before 9 a.m.) and evening (after 6:00 p.m.) watering is best.

  • Use harvested water (e.g., rain barrels, cisterns) and “grey” water (collected during showers, hand washing, dish rinsing, etc.), as much as possible, to water plants.

  • Position sprinkler heads to ensure that they are targeting intended plants, and avoid watering hardscapes such as patios, walls, etc.

  • Use a variable-spray nozzle, which can provide greater control over the quantity of water released while watering. Do not overwater mature and established trees and shrubs.

Fall and Winter

To minimize the risk of freeze damage to your outside spigots and landscape irrigation systems, it is important to winterize your fixtures and system before the first freeze and preferably no later than the end of October.  By winterizing your outdoor water system now, you will reduce the chance of having a major leak when the system is reactivated in the spring.

 

Fall | Winter conservation tips:

  • Blow out your sprinkler system to prevent water from freezing and cracking the lines.  The air pressure should never exceed 80 PSI.

  • Prep outside faucets and yard hydrants by disconnecting, draining, and removing hoses and checking washers to make sure there are no leaks that could freeze and back up into household plumbing.  Unless exterior faucets are the self-draining, “freeze-resistant” type, all faucets or hose bibs should have the water supply turned off inside the house, if possible, and water drained by opening up the exterior faucet.  If not inside shut off is available, exterior foam insulating covers should be installed over the fixtures.

  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulating material to protect them from the cold, including any exposed water pipes in unheated garages.

  • Disconnect drip timers and drip systems, if you have them.

  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located, and make sure everyone in your home knows where it is, too.  If you don’t know where the master shut-off valve is located in your house or if your home does not have one, contact a plumber.  In an emergency, if the water needs to be shut off at the water meter, call the EAWSD emergency hotline number.​

  • Check for leaks around whole-house humidifier systems, associated with forced-air heat.

If you do not feel qualified to winterize your irrigation system on your own, you may want to consult with a qualified licensed landscape contractor.  Larger landscape maintenance companies may offer consultation services or you can ask your friends and neighbors for a reliable recommendation.