Smart irrigation strategies to protect water supply

Participants at the Anoka County Smart Irrigation Presentation and Forum learned some tricks to keep their property looking great while reducing water use to preserve local natural resources. The depletion of groundwater and lowering of lake levels is a possibility when water use exceeds natural water resources supply. Mick Jost presented the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) Water Conservation Project aimed at industrial water users in the north and east twin cities metro area. Kory Jorgensen (City of Coon Rapids) and Kay Qualley (City of Fridley) discussed the importance to their communities of keeping water use from exceeding local supplies.

Extension Educator for Horticulture Sam Bauer (U of M Lawns and Turfgrass Management Program) and local landscape and irrigation professionals Jeff Latterell (Mickman Brothers) and Jake Mathre (Conserva Irrigation) discussed options to maintain lawn while preserving our local water resources.   Irrigation professionals encourage residents, grounds keepers, businesses, and property managers to upgrade from timer irrigation systems to Smart Irrigation technology that uses rain or soil moisture sensors to determine if watering grass/turf is needed. Bauer presented seven (7) simple strategies to reduce water use:

  • Auditing irrigation system
  • Install rain sensors on automated irrigation system
  • Water grass deeply but infrequently
  • Consider using drought tolerant species and varieties
  • Raise mowing heights
  • Reduce mowing frequency
  • Soil aeration

Water Conservation (YouTube video, Anoka Conservation District; 1:57)

When in drought (or not) summer is the time to save. (YouTube video, WaterSense; 1:00)

Water use increases in the summer as outdoor watering heats up along with the temperature. This can be a bigger problem in communities that are suffering from drought. But there are things we can all do to use water more efficiently during the summer months. This includes moving to water-smart landscapes that need less supplemental watering, letting lawns take a rest from sprinklers, replacing older products with more water-efficient models that carry the WaterSense label, and being creative about reusing water. Most importantly, we can all cooperate within our community as we work to ensure that water demand and local water supply is balanced.

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