Hot, dry weather is upon us. Central Iowa and most parts of the State of Iowa are fortunate to have sufficient sources of water to meet the needs of residential, business, industrial, and governmental customers during most years and the summer months. In addition, Des Moines Water Works has made significant financial investments in treatment plants, pumps, tanks, piping, and reservoir storage to meet customers’ potable water needs.
These assets can be most efficiently operated during the very hottest of summer days when our customers use water wisely. Wise use of water is defined as being alert to and repairing leaking household appliances, taking advantage of technological advances to eliminate waste and avoiding irrigation use during the hottest part of the day.
Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with the metropolitan area water utilities and through the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission planning group, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program.
This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days. Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 am through 5:00 pm). This watering approach reduces the peak load on our water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life.
In addition, it is important to remember:
- Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
- Most soils in the Des Moines area can support a healthy turf, if watered no more frequently than every other day. ISU Extension pamphlet PM 1063, found at their Web page: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1063.pdf, says “Kentucky Bluegrass will withstand drought by becoming dormant. If irrigation is begun in a drought, continue to water during the drought period. Apply water infrequently, but in sufficient amounts to wet the soil to six-inch depth.” Turf grasses in clayey, silty soils found in most parts of the metro area may require up to one inch to one-half inches of water per week. These soils typically cannot absorb this much water during one irrigation cycle. Adjust your sprinkler time so you are applying from one-fourth inch to one-half inch of water during each irrigation day or cycle.
- For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
- When possible, avoid laying sod during July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months and weeks of the year. New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive. Beginning the last week in August and through the fall is the best time for laying sod. Grass seed is also best used during this late summer, fall time period.
- Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional, or ISU Extension horticulturalist for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs. Also, visit Des Moines Water Works website for other water saving tips.
Let’s all use our precious water wisely!