Outdoor Water Use – Fall Checkup

October 29, 2014

Fall is here! And it’s a great time to conduct an outdoor water use checkup, which could help you save water and money. Here are some tips to help you get started:


As temperatures begin to drop, you’ll need to water your landscaping less frequently. Make sure you water thoroughly and deeply at each watering. This way, roots are encouraged to grow deep into the soil where they’ll be better protected during the cold winter months. The 1-2-3 rule is an easy way to remember how deep to water:

  • 1 foot – Ground-cover plants, cactuses and annuals
  • 2 feet – Shrubs
  • 3 feet – Trees

Use a soil probe to determine how deep the water has penetrated the soil. Also, be sure to place your emitters along a plant’s drip line, which is beneath the outer edge of the plant’s canopy. Do not place them close to the trunk or stem. The water will spread horizontally as it soaks into the soil, reaching the entire root zone.

Pool Leaks

Pool water evaporation is normal; however, an abnormal drop in water level may indicate a leak. An autofill (automatic pool leveler) can mask a leak as it will automatically replace water lost and thereby prevent a visible drop in your pool’s water level.

  • The autofill leveler should keep the pool water at the middle of the skimmer box opening. If the water level is too high, excess water can escape through gaps under the decking at the top of the pool or through the autofill crock (container in which the autofill sits).
  • Check the autofill leveler to see if it can stop the water flow. If your autofill is allowing water to flow through it, gently lift its float to see if the flow stops.
  • Check the float. If set too high, it will cause a higher-than-desired pool water level.
  • Walk from the pool equipment to the pool, then to the water supply line (if you have an autofill) and around the pool. Visually inspect equipment for wet spots, small holes or depressions in the soil, as these might indicate an underground water leak.
  • Conduct the bucket test.


  • Look for signs of overwatering, such as leaves turning lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilting or algae or fungi growth.
  • Once a month, turn on each irrigation station or zone and look for leaks and water waste.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads so they do not spray on sidewalks, driveways, walls or buildings.
  • Mow regularly to prevent grass from obstructing sprinklers.
  • Look for water spray or seepage from the top or bottom of sprinkler heads, as this is an indication of a broken sprinkler head or riser in need of repair.
  • Check for water in the valve box, as this may indicate a leaky valve in need of repair.

For additional water-saving tips, visit wateruseitwisely.com.