Metropolitan Council & U of M Extension assess lawn watering systems for efficiency
Saint Paul–Aug. 3, 2016–Ever see outdoor sprinkling systems watering in the rain? Soaking the street or sidewalk? How about daily or every-other-day watering
that leads to over-watering?
These can be common sights during a Minnesota summer, when
water use kicks into high gear. During summer, we use two or three times more
water than during winter months. That means higher costs to home and business
owners. But how much more, and are there steps we can take to reduce water use
Researchers at the Metropolitan Council and University of Minnesota
Extension want to know how efficiently sprinkler or irrigation systems are performing.
They’re asking metro area residents to participate in an online “Lawn Water Use
Survey,” and respond to a series of questions about their residence type and
lawn size, and their irrigation practices and goals.
Project staff will also ask some participants if they’re
willing to have a free assessment of their lawn and watering systems for things
like maintenance, soil moisture and species of grass.
Ultimately, they want to be able to compare existing
irrigation systems with water-efficient systems, and demonstrate to the public
and municipalities the benefits and savings of smart irrigation technologies
like moisture sensors, water-efficient sprinkler heads and smart sprinkler
“We estimate that metro residents could reduce water use in
the summer months by up to nearly 30 percent with fairly modest changes in
their practices and tune-ups to their irrigation technology,” said Brian Davis,
Senior Engineer for the Council’s Environmental Services Division.
“Residents and businesses make significant investments in
their lawns and landscapes,” said Sam Bauer, Assistant Extension Professor at
the U of M Extension. “We’re not suggesting people shouldn’t care for their
investment. But we do suggest that we can make improvements in watering
practices that will benefit both our environment and water supply.”
During winter months, residents of the seven-county region use
265 million gallons of water a day. In the summer months, that increases to up
to 586 million gallons a day.
in the Lawn Water
Use Survey. In addition, the Council has a Water
Conservation Toolbox on its website with tips on how to conserve
The Metropolitan Council–in
collaboration with communities, other government agencies, the University of
Minnesota, and other partners–is engaged in numerous studies and projects to
identify key water supply issues and their solutions.
This work will help ensure that the metro region
has adequate water supplies now and in the future, as our region grows and is
impacted by climate and environmental changes.