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Once-a-Week Watering In Effect

Steamy temps and a lack of rain have taken their toll on the Edwards Aquifer level, prompting Stage 1 landscape watering restrictions. Here’s what that means for your lawn and garden.

Hot temperatures combined with a lack of measurable rainfall has resulted in more landscape watering — and the Edwards Aquifer level responded accordingly by dropping below 660 feet. That means Stage 1 drought restrictions have returned to San Antonio.

It’s been a while since we’ve been in Stage 1 drought restrictions, so here’s a brief refresher:

  1. Landscape watering with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose is allowed once-a-week on your designated watering day before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Your watering day is determined by the last number of your street address.
  2. Watering days begin and end at midnight; overnight watering is not allowed.
  3. Hand-watering with a hose, drip irrigation or bucket is allowed any day, at any time.

Stage One water restriction banner.

A note about once-a-week watering: this is plenty for your landscape to survive. In fact, Bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustine grass growing in more than 12 inches of soil need water only every 30-60 days. Native plants like Salvias, Lantanas, junipers, oaks and persimmon need the same frequency of water on even less soil.

As for drip irrigation, whether this method saves water depends on the design and scheduling. The purpose of drip is infrequent and deep watering. That means watering every two weeks is ideal, once a week is more than adequate.

I personally favor soaker hoses and hand-watering. Although soaker hoses can be short-lived when left outside in the heat, they are simple and easy to use. Just unroll it on your designated watering day, attach it to your spigot and give it a ¼ turn and run it for two to four hours. When you’re done, roll it up and store it in the garage until your next watering day. Simple, easy and effective.

Hand-held hose watering is most efficient when a water wand and shutoff valve are attached. This helps reduce water waste between beds and annuals. And here’s a little tip from my 50 years of watering experience: think low and slow. Gentle sprinkling with low pressure allows water to soak in more slowly, yielding the best results with minimal water waste.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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