Wondering how a free landscape consultation from SAWS actually works? Conservation consultant David Abrego takes you on a virtual tag-along to show you just how beneficial it can be.
If you’re new to San Antonio — or this newsletter — you may not have heard that SAWS offers free consultations to check your irrigation system performance and evaluate your existing landscape conditions. Or maybe you have heard and are not convinced that a free irrigation consultation is right for you.
Before you dismiss the idea thinking there must be a catch or that you’ll have to listen to some cheesy sales pitch, hear me out.
While the focus of a WaterSaver Irrigation Consultation varies depending on a customer’s initial concern (high water bill, irrigation upgrade, etc.), our consultations are always framed in terms of how to maintain a healthy, attractive landscape without using a lot of water. Nothing more.
So I thought I’d take you along with me to one of my appointments to give you an idea of what your session might look like — and how you and your landscape can benefit from this free service.
(David knocks on customer’s door)
David: Good morning, my name is David Abrego with SAWS Conservation Department. You requested an irrigation consultation for today, how can I help you?
Customer: Thank you for coming out, my water bill in recent months has gone up for no apparent reason, and last month we weren’t even home and the bill is still high. We don’t take long showers or waste water. We use the sprinkler system once a week at 7 a.m. on Mondays because that’s our watering day. I haven’t noticed any leaks. And look, my neighbor has a pool and his bill is lower than mine! In my house it’s just me, my husband, two children, a dog and four chickens. How can we be using so much water?
David: Thank you for that information. When I arrived, the first thing I did was take a closer look at your water meter to make sure the flow indicator was not moving. It was not, so that is great news — we can rule out a continuous leak. Now, I need to have access to your irrigation controller to have a look at your settings.
Customer: Okay, no problem. It’s in the garage, follow me.
David: Okay, I see that program A on the controller is set exactly as you told me — to run at 7 a.m. on Mondays. You have eight stations and each one is programmed to run 25 minutes. But I also see that program C is running at 12 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for 10 minutes each station. Were you aware that program C was also scheduled?
Customer: I had no idea — that must be why my bill is so high! I have to talk to my gardener; I only told him I wanted to water 15 minutes each station once a week on my day.
David: Not to worry, now that I’ve gotten the schedule information from the controller, I'll run your system to check for any broken heads, leaks etc. At the same time I'm going to calculate how much water your system is using every minute it runs. This information will help me program an appropriate schedule into your controller that takes into account your plant material, if the area(s) are in shade or sun, etc. Then I’ll program the new schedule for you before I leave.
Customer: Really, you will do all that? For no charge? Thank you so much, David!
David: Absolutely, that’s what I’m here for. In addition, please know we have other programs at SAWS you can take advantage of to save water and money. There’s the WaterSaver Landscape and Patioscape coupons to help make your landscape more drought-tolerant, as well as an Irrigation Design Rebate program to help eliminate or make changes to your irrigation system and earn rebates by doing so.
Customer: Very good, thank you very much for coming today and helping me understand my water use. I’m relieved that I don’t have any leaks, and so thankful you corrected my irrigation schedule and showed me how to program the controller correctly. No need to have my gardener do it anymore — now I can do it myself.
David: That's right! Well, that concludes your consultation. My visit will result in you saving about 20,000 gallons of water per month moving forward. Here is a full report for you, and your system is programmed correctly for you now. This report details how many stations you have, how much water you’re using and the average gallons per minute of your system. It also details any maintenance issues you may have, as well as a rebate offer should you decide to make any irrigation design changes. Thank you for allowing me to serve you today, and have a nice day.
(David waves goodbye to the customer)
See? No sales pitch. No catch. Just an honest evaluation of your personal landscape needs. And you get the benefit of one-on-one coaching at your controller so you’ll know exactly how to use it and how much water you’re using every time it runs.
And did I mention it’s all free?
Schedule your WaterSaver Irrigation Consultation today. Your landscape and your wallet will thank you.