OK everyone, a show of hands please — how many of you run your in-ground sprinkler system at least once a week during the winter? Now, ask yourself why because no matter how much water you apply, dormant grass will not grow.
As long as soil temperatures are below 70 degrees , warm season turf grasses will not produce green shoots that require mowing or irrigation. Only the roots of grasses, trees and shrubs are active in the winter and generally survive on the sporadic rainfall that the area receives. What WILL turn green because of irrigation are the germinating winter weeds like dandelions and henbit, along with cool-season weedy grasses such as rye, fescue, poa annua or rescuegrass.
Another reason not irrigating in the winter is good practice: your sewer bill. SAWS uses your average winter water use from mid-November to mid-March each year to calculate your monthly sewer charge for the following year, in this case 2018.
So it pays to pay attention to your water consumption. If you’re irrigating, draining and refilling a pool/spa, or have a bad leak during this three-month period, aka winter averaging, you will see this higher consumption reflected in your metered domestic water use — and it will affect the calculation of your monthly sewer charge for the coming year.
If you repair a leak during the winter averaging period, be sure to call SAWS at 210-704-SAWS (7297) so a bill review can be performed and adjust for the leak (leak repair receipts MUST be provided) to make sure the sewer charges are accurate and don’t include the extra water caused by the leak. NOTE: Irrigation, filling a pool/spa, and regular consumption during the winter averaging period are not eligible for adjustments.
Next time you’re in the garage (or wherever your irrigation controller is installed), switch the controller to OFF or Manual between November 15 and March 15. Your budget will appreciate the attention to detail.
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About our expert
Nathan Riggs is a SAWS project coordinator who also happens to have a degree in entomology from Texas A&M University. Yes, Nathan’s a bug expert, and not just on water bugs! When he’s not hard at work on SAWS conservation projects, he enjoys a wide variety of interests including: landscaping, hiking, photography of flowers, insects and other critters, and planning his next adventure with his son, John, and daughter, Olivia.
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