The Water Spot

The City's water conservation program coordinator will write about interesting information relating to City water projects, water reuse projects, water conservation program and rebates, drought information and timely news regarding water use within Round Rock.

February 2014 - Posts

Irrigation Workshop

Do you have an irrigation system, but don’t quite know how to use it effectively?  Or at all??  Do you have an irrigation system and would like to learn how to make simple repairs, fixes, and upgrades to it yourself?  If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, I’d like to invite you to the free irrigation workshop that the City of Round Rock Water Conservation program and Williamson County Master Gardeners are having on Saturday, March 22 at the Williamson County Extension Office at 3151 SE Inner Loop, in Georgetown.

The outdoor event will be comprised of 5 stations that will demonstrate various aspects of an irrigation system’s workings.  You can visit them all, or just the ones that interest you.

Come learn:

  • How water pressure determines how far the water will spray out of the sprinkler head, and how coverage is affected by too high or too low water pressure; learn how you can adjust the water pressure to be "just right!"
  • How to use your controller, you know, the box that turns it on and off.  Learn how to set it, make adjustments, and do more than just turn it on.
  • How to make simple repairs; there are plenty of things you can do yourself on your irrigation system.  Learn how to replace broken or leaking heads, clean out nozzles, adjust misdirected heads…it’s easy!  You can watch the video below to learn how to clean out clogged nozzles now.
  • How an irrigation system works: view the system above ground, learn what all the components are that are involved with turning the system on and off and allowing water to flow through the pipes.
  • What drip irrigation is and how to utilize it in your landscape.  See how drip is a more efficient way to water certain plants and make some conversions from spray heads to drip.

There will also be folks on-hand to talk about water supply and conservation programs in the area.  So, come join us on Saturday, March 22, between 9am – 12pm at the Williamson County Extension Office.  It’s going on rain or shine.  No need to stay the entire time, come and go as you please.


Springtime Sprinkler Check

The beautiful weekends have made me ready for Spring!  The weekend weather has been perfect to get a little yard work done, but then it's freezing again!  When spring cleaning the yard by adding new mulch, trimming back frozen plants, and installing some color, those of us with automatic sprinker systems need to think about prepping it for spring as well.

For most of us, our irrigation systems haven't been used since October or November--unless it came on and caused a frozen wonderland like the pictures to the right!  That's good that it's been off.  Before simply turning it on to run the last program it was running in the fall, it should be visually checked out to ensure that all is working well with it.  I'm talking about setting a test program on your controller and visually inspecting the system to ensure that it's working the way you expect it to, so that when you do start using it more frequently you won't be surprised by high water bills, dying landscapes, or spotty coverage.

Since the inspection doesn't need to take too long, again, it's just a visual, you're going to run the sprinkler system on the test program, or program in your own test program, for only 1 or 2 minutes per station.  When you turn it on to run manually you are looking for problems like:

  • sprinkler heads that aren't popping up--maybe grass grew over the head,
  • heads that are turned the wrong way and are spraying areas they shouldn't be (i.e. driveways, the street, the house, the fence, cactus, into your neighbors yard); they just need to be physically turned to point the correct way;
  • leaking heads--these should be replaced;
  • heads that are covered by shrubs (sidenote: plants continue to grow after sprinklers are orginally installed, so heads may not spray what they are "supposed" to if the shrub has grown up and covered the head completely); it's time to trim the shrub or move the head;
  • areas of low water presssure--this could indicate a leak in the water line, or a broken head and may require additional time to inspect or calling a licensed irrigator to check it out; and
  • heads that DO pop-up, but no water comes out--that's a clogged head and just needs to be cleaned out.    

While the system is running, you can make notes of where the problems are to address once you've run through all the stations, or try to fix them while the system's running.  I recommend a water resistant jacket for that, or warmer weather and a swimsuit!  Once you've adjusted the heads and make what fixes are needed, you are good to go in running the system through fully, knowing it will be efficient and effective in watering your landscape.  That's good!

Remember, when setting your controller for the spring, it's best to start slow; watering once per week or less is plenty for this time for year and the City is still under Stage I water restrictions. 

Watch our latest video on how to set up a test program for your controller: