Mind the watering windows

Follow these tips to avoid breaking Stage 2 watering rules and getting a citation.

Stage 2 watering rules have been in place since mid-April. And if the severe dry weather continues as forecasters are predicting, watering cutbacks will be in place for a while longer.

In Stage 2, landscape watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or soaker hose is allowed only from 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m., one day a week, based on the last number of your street address.

Officers are actively patrolling in and around San Antonio and issuing citations to those breaking Stage 2 watering rules. If you witness excessive watering or water waste, you can report it online.

In the meantime, here’s how to keep your watering in check.

Make sure your controller or timer is set for the correct time and date.

If your watering day is Tuesday and your controller is programmed to run only on Tuesday, but your controller’s internal calendar is set for the wrong date you may end up watering on the wrong day and/or time and could potentially receive a citation for the oversight. It’s also a good idea to check your controller for an internal battery (usually a 9 volt) and change it if/as necessary. These batteries keep the internal clock ticking should you lose power so the date and time don’t get out of sync.

Calculate your run times.

There are only two 4-hour windows allowed on your watering day. Keep it simple by adding up the run times for each zone and make sure the total falls under four hours and then set your start time to accommodate your total run time.

If your desired run times exceed 4 hours, you can split the zones to water between different programs. Splitting the zones into two programs allows you to schedule them to run without watering outside your permitted times.

The drip option.

If you have drip irrigation, separate your drip zones to run on their own program. Watering with drip irrigation is allowed any day, but only between 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. so you can effectively reduce your designated watering day irrigation duration by reprogramming drip to run separately on another day of the week. This is particularly helpful if you have a much larger irrigation system and are trying to figure out how to schedule everything to run in compliance with the watering rules.

drip irrigation

If you have a smart controller …

Be mindful that some will automatically adjust your settings based on current climate conditions. In times of drought and specific watering rules, it’s best to deactivate smart or automatic watering features in favor of a specific, fixed schedule so you don’t run into any surprises or citations.

Need help figuring it all out? Give us a call!

We understand irrigation systems aren’t always the most user friendly or intuitive. We’re here to help. Just give us a call to schedule a free irrigation consultation. We’ll visit your property to evaluate your irrigation system, identify any leaks or problems, and help you reschedule your system for optimal efficiency, as well as Stage 2 compliance.

Now is a great time to evaluate your current landscape and its watering requirements. Lawns are water-hungry, so if you see opportunities to remove sections of it in favor of drought tolerant plant beds or a permeable patio or deck, SAWS has lots of great resources to help cover some of the cost.

Picture of Seth Patterson
Seth Patterson
A naturalist by nature, Seth spent his early childhood crawling through creeks and caves of the Hill Country before moving to South Texas where he found his passion in nature photography. Now an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer, Seth follows the water wherever he lands and truly takes to heart his role as a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System.
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