Happy Earth Month: Tip #2 Replace Your Sprinklers

Earlier this month we told you that in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), we’d be sharing our founder Andy Lipkis’ simple sustainable suggestions — from his home to yours — right here on our blog throughout April. Last week we brought you Andy’s first tip: how and why to maintain your yard and garden with rain barrels.

Now it’s a fresh, new week and time for Andy’s second tip: Replace your sprinklers.

Why? Because chances are your sprinkler system isn’t running as efficiently as it could. And inefficient sprinklers waste water, time, and money.  In fact, according to the Metropolitan Water District, roughly 50% of California’s residential water supply is used for home landscapes, but much of that never even reaches what it’s intended to irrigate; over-spray from sprinklers (or dry-weather runoff) hits the pavement and runs directly to the ocean.

As Dorothy Green, founding president of Heal the Bay, so eloquently put it, “We have enough water to live on, but not enough to waste.”

Fortunately, improving your sprinklers is a cost-efficient breeze:

– Consider replacing your sprinklers with rotor spray heads, which are inexpensive and easy to install. Rotor heads apply a uniform stream of water that averages an output of 0.6 to 0.8 inches of water per hour. Traditional sprinkler heads, on the other hand, average a whopping 1.5 to 1.7 inches of water per hour.

– Better still, think about installing a drip irrigation system, which applies water directly to the soil, eliminating evaporation and over-spray onto our driveways and sidewalks.

Even if you aren’t in a position to upgrade your yard care system just yet, there are still a few things you can do to have a big impact:

– Adjust your sprinkler heads to ensure that they are spraying in the right direction and NOT spraying on the sidewalk and street.

– Double check that none of your sprinkler heads are missing, broken, clogged, or leaking.

Learn more about adjusting your sprinklers’ application rate of water and sustainable watering practices:

SoCal Water $mart Programs

The Watering Index and Watering Calculator

By Andy Lipkis

Andy Lipkis is a practical visionary who has dedicated his life to healing the environment while improving the lives of individuals and communities. He founded TreePeople in Los Angeles in 1973 at age 18 and continues to serve as its President. Andy has spearheaded an approach using trees and forest-inspired technologies to make cities sustainable while mitigating floods, drought, pollution, and climate change. Called “Functioning Community Forests,” it is being demonstrated in L.A. as a model for cities everywhere.