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Aug 23

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Managing water bills

With the hot, dry summer Tyler is experiencing, managing water consumption and controlling water bills is a challenge.  The City of Tyler Water Utilities Department advises focusing efforts on irrigation systems to make the most impact.

“Typically, domestic water use – meaning the water used inside the home for drinking, showering and laundry – does not change much from season to season,” said Water Utilities Director Greg Morgan.  “However, the use of water for irrigation dramatically changes during hot, dry seasons. This is something that can be managed to avoid costly bills.”

Morgan explains that many residents are not aware of how often, or for how long, their irrigation system is running because it was programmed by someone else.  Also, a system is often programmed to run at night or early morning hours, which compounds this issue.

“The difference between running your system three days per week versus four can be significant,” added Morgan.

For example, an irrigation system that emits 30 gallons per minute that is running for 30 minutes per day, with six zones, will use 5,400 gallons each day.  If it runs three days per week, the monthly consumption will be 64,800 gallons of water.  At four days per week, the water use rises to 86,400 gallons per month – a significant difference.

“It is difficult to give a customer advice on how often to water because grass type, soil conditions, and shade conditions differ throughout the city,” said Morgan.  “We advise consulting with a turf specialist to determine how often, and for what duration, you should be watering.  Don’t just assume that what was programmed into your system is correct.  Also, rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering. ”

Morgan also advises installing a rain sensor so that when it does rain, the irrigation system does not run unnecessarily.

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