May 7, 2018

Spring is almost over, and summer is on the horizon! Which means it’s time to adjust your landscape watering schedule. But did you know that your irrigation should be adjusted monthly? It’s easy to set it and forget it — which could mean wasting water and money. To make life simple, the Arizona Municipal Water User’s Association (AMWUA) recently launched free landscape watering text alerts to make irrigation in the desert easier than ever before. Text WHENTOWATER to 33222 to receive a text on the first of each month with a link to the month’s watering guidelines.

How did these handy text alerts come about? AMWUA is comprised of ten cities in the greater Phoenix area, working together on water issues, including regional water conservation efforts. Many of the partners were already sending out monthly email alerts about watering frequency. But knowing that text messages are a fast and efficient way to communicate, it was a great solution to simplify how cities were getting the information out to even more homeowners.

Irrigation Controller and Smart Phone
With your irrigation controller and your smartphone, it’s easy to know when and how much to water to keep your plants healthy and beautiful.

Three Reason to Sign Up

Here are three great reasons to sign up for landscape watering text alerts:

  1. Under watering can cause problems. An adequate amount of water is needed by plants to keep them functioning and looking their best. Under watering can cause plants to overheat, lose leaves or branches, or even die.
  2. Overwatering can cause even more problems. Waterlogged soils displace the air and oxygen needed to keep plant roots healthy. This condition can cause diseases of the roots, trunks or leaves. When roots are not functioning properly, they will not uptake water and nutrients needed by the plant. Plants may wilt (even though there is plenty of water available) or show nutrient deficiencies, such as iron chlorosis. A less obvious problem caused by too much water is excessive growth of the plant. Water promotes new growth so by continually supplying water to desert plants, they continue to use the water, and grow, and grow. Excessive growth will translate to more frequent pruning and can contribute to tree blow overs.
  3. We need to use our water resources wisely. Water that is used indoors — from showers, sinks, washers, dishwashers, and toilets — is recaptured as wastewater, treated, and put to use again. Water that is used in the landscape can’t be. As much as 70 percent of a home’s water use may actually be used outdoors, so being efficient with our landscape watering is one of the best and easiest ways to save water.
Tree dying from overwatering
This Palo Brea died from overwatering, due to an irrigation valve that was stuck on.


Ready to sign up? Simply text WHENTOWATER to 33222 and you will receive a table that breaks down plant types (lawns, trees, shrubs, cacti, etc.)  and frequency of irrigation so that you can quickly adjust how often you water. It’s that easy.

For more help, check out the landscape watering guide to determine how long you should run your sprinklers and/or drip irrigation system. If you would like more information about desert-adapted plants and how to design, install, and care for landscapes in the desert, go to

Gina Conrow is a Water Resource Specialist with the city of Phoenix, one of 20 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.