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October 27, 2009

When residents set their clocks back one hour this weekend, the Southwest Florida Water Management District would like them to also check the timers on their irrigation system controllers.

The time change is a good reminder to make sure your irrigation system timer is set correctly so you do not run the risk of receiving a water restriction citation because your system was set incorrectly.

All 16 counties within the District are under one-day-per-week lawn watering restrictions. Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, residents may only water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Lawn and landscape watering remains limited to a one-day-per-week schedule. Please check with your local government or utility for your watering day.

In addition to checking your irrigation timer, it is also a good time to inspect your irrigation system by completing these simple steps.

•On your irrigation day, manually start your irrigation system for each zone to check for leaks, broken pipes, damaged or tilted sprinkler heads, blocked sprinkler patterns and overspray onto impermeable surfaces such as roads and sidewalks.

•Check for soft, wet spots that are around the inground sprinkler head. If consistent, these spots could indicate a leak that is being absorbed into the ground. Contact your irrigation maintenance specialist if repairs are needed.

•Look for dry spots. They are a sign of one of the following: the sprinklers may be placed too far apart; the water pressure is low; sprinkler patterns may be blocked by overgrown grass; shrubs or low-hanging limbs may be blocking the sprinklers; or the screens inside the sprinklers are clogged.

•Adjust, move or add sprinkler heads if your current sprinklers do not throw water 80 to 100 percent of the distance to the adjacent sprinkler.

•If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it is equipped with a working rain shutoff device to override the system when enough rain has fallen. As water evaporates from the device, the irrigation system will resume normal operation. Rain shutoff devices, also known as rain sensors, are required by Florida law on all automatic irrigation systems installed since 1991.

•Make sure the rain shutoff device is located away from overhead obstructions, with a clear view of the sky and at least five feet away from air-conditioning units or pool heaters.

•Check the rain shutoff device regularly to ensure the device is working properly and that the corresponding switch in the control box is set at “on.” Test the device by wetting the sensor to verify the system won’t operate when the controller has received the set amount of water.

•Adjust the sensor to interrupt irrigation after one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain. If there is a vent ring located just below the cap, the vent can be closed or partially closed to restrict air flow through the discs. Make sure the vent is closed so it will allow the disks to dry more slowly, thus keeping the system off for a longer period of time. This adjustment is used to compensate for an “overly sunny” location.

For additional information about water restrictions, water conservation and the drought, please contact your local utility or visit the District’s web site at http://www.WaterMatters.org/drought/.


 
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