|Ways to Save
Saving Water Outdoors
Saving Water Indoors
How much water do I use?
What is ET?
By conserving how much water do I save?
Water saving websites
Temescal Garden Designs
With a few simple changes, EVMWD converted our turf laden lawn to a water wise garden and we are seeing the benefits of saving. See how easy it is to make the switch!
Visit our YouTube Channel for 2 great videos featuring Temescal Gardens: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFb58-QCazd2Hmn8mW07ywg
Temescal Gardens Landscape
What is a Temescal Garden?
A Temescal Garden is a landscape made up of plants appropriate for our climate here in the Temescal Valley.
Why change to a Temescal Garden?
In EVMWD’s service area, landscape irrigation accounts for nearly 70% of residential use. By reducing outdoor irrigation, customers can help EVMWD avoid having to import more expensive water. There are many other benefits to converting your landscape to a Temescal Garden. Not only can you save water, time and money, you can also provide habitat for native wildlife, reduce green waste, and reduce chemical and pesticide use.
No, really, why should I go to the trouble to change to a Temescal Garden?
The following estimates give a rough idea of the possible savings from converting a traditional turf landscape to a Temescal Garden landscape of drought-tolerant plants. These costs are for water only and do not include meter charges or sewer charges. Potential savings are based on EVMWD’s 2011 Block 2 outdoor irrigation rate of $2.56 per billing unit (CCF ) and do not include costs associated with exceeding water budgets in Blocks 3, 4, and 5. Homeowners who regularly exceed their water budgets could see even higher savings.
Although these are rough estimates, they show that homeowners can achieve significant water savings by converting their landscape to drought
tolerant plants and that they could also save money in the process.
Water Use and Savings Estimates
Gallons Per Year
Gallons Per Year
Estimated $ SavingsPer Year
Estimated $ SavingsPer Month
EVMWD developed these designs with local landscape architect Laurie Levine with the goal of providing homeowners with designs that would comply with state and local landscape ordinances. EVMWD also worked with local cities to tailor the designs to local codes with the goal of streamlining the approval process for new residential landscaping. Homeowners using these designs should generally not need to hire a landscape architect or designer. EVMWD is pleased to provide designs that will help customers save water, time, and money and help beautify the community at the same time.
Design Guidelines 1-6Design 1
Design 4 Corner Lot
Design 5 Sloped Yard
Design 6 Terraced Yard
Drip Irrigation Guide
Books About California Native Plants
California Native Plants For The Garden (Carol Bornstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien)
Care and Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens (O’Brien, Landis, Mackey)
Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California (Glenn Keator)
Growing California Native Plants (Marjorie G. Schmidt)
Landscape Plants For Western Regions (Bob Perry)
Landscaping with Native Plants of Southern California George Oxford Miller)
Native Plants for California Gardens (Lee W. Lenz)
Sunset Western Garden Book
WUCOLS-Water Use Classification of Landscape Species, A Guide to the Water Needs of Plants (UC Cooperative Extension)
Online Plant Resources
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (huge list of drought tolerant plants)
Las Pilitas Nursery
Tree of Life Nursery
California Native Plant Society
California Oaks Foundation
Native Plants for a California Garden
San Marcos Growers
Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (online plant brochure)
Laurie Levine, Landscape Architect 951-698-0122
Jean Marsh, Garden Design 951-736-8941
Drought Tolerant Plant Nurseries
W = Wholesale
R = Retail
Greenbelt Growers (W/R)
9820 Dufferin Avenue
Riverside, CA 92503
Paradise Growers (W/R)
7109 Dufferin Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-5402
Las Pilitas (W/R)
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tree of Life (W/R)
33201 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Cagliero Ranch Nursery
2700 W. Devonshire Ave.
Hemet, CA 92545
Cal-Native Plants (W/R)
25735 Garbani Rd.
Menifee, CA 92584
Willow Creek Springs Nursery (W/R)
26521 Hammack Ave.
Perris, CA 92570
Mockingbird Nurseries, Inc (W/R)
1670 Jackson St.
Riverside, CA 92504
Louie’s Nursery (R)
16310 Porter Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
Theodore Payne Foundation (W/R)
10459 Tuxford Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352-2116
Lowes – Lake Elsinore
29335 Central Ave.
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Home Depot – Lake Elsinore
18282 Collier Avenue
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
The Living Desert, Palo Verde Garden Center ®
47-900 Portola Ave.
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Western Municipal Water District
Landscapes Southern California Style
450 E. Alessandro Blvd
Riverside, CA 92518
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 North College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-3157
UC Riverside Botanic Gardens
900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
El Cajon, CA 92019
Want to save time, money and water? Plant California Friendly Plants!
You have probably noticed that your lawn uses a lot of water. You have probably thought that it would be nice to have plants that are beautiful and don't require much water or maintenance. California Friendly Plants are just the thing! These are beautiful, drought tolerant, and low maintenance plants that will make your yard look good and help lower your water bill. Several local nurseries, including Home Depot and Lowes now carry these plants so it is easier than ever to buy them. Check out www.bewaterwise.com for an extensive list (and pictures!) of these plants. Look for the banners, displays, and plant tags!
Nurseries carrying only native plants include Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Tree of Life Nursery on the Ortega Highway on the way to San Juan Capistrano. Their websites also have a wealth of information about plants.
|Saving Water Outdoors: How Much is Enough for Your Lawn? |
Landscape irrigation can be more than 50% of your annual water use. Maintaining a lush and beautiful yard in our hot dry climate requires water and will cost you money. In addition, most irrigation systems are inefficient, not maintained properly, and most homeowners tend to overwater by as much as 30%. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to reduce your landscape water use.
The following are some suggestions that can help you save water in your yard. Please note: these are meant to be guidelines and are based on common residential landscape conditions. You might need to adjust schedules and watering times due to soil or local conditions.
A Summer Must, Only Water After Dusk!
Please water in the morning or at night!
Due to a very dry winter and drought conditions in the Sierra Nevada and Colorado River Basin (two main sources of our water), EVMWD is requesting that residents NOT water during daylight hours. Early morning is the best time to water as there is little wind and not much evaporation.
Daytime watering wastes water and costs you money as it blows away or evaporates!
ATTENTION! Spring and Fall are good times for a schedule check!
Spring: Once the heat starts, it is time to look at your watering schedule. If you have pop-up spray heads on your lawn, you should be able to water four times a week for 15 minutes or around 60 minutes total per week for now. If it gets really hot, you can add a day or two. You really DO NOT need to water every day, even in July and August.
Fall: As the weather cools you should cut back your watering to 2 to 3 days a week for about 10 minutes each time. If it rains, you can probably even turn off the water for a whole week!
If you see runoff, then you should split up your run times (i.e. 7 minutes at 5 am and 7 at 6am)
The Quick Fix!
This might just be the easiest thing you can do to save water and money! We recommend the following watering schedule for summer watering of lawns in our service area:
4 times a week
15 minutes a day
After the sun goes down
This basic schedule works for most lawns watered by pop-up spray heads. When a heat wave hits you will probably want to add another day or two into the schedule, but this should work for most of the year. You will, of course, want to subtract a day or two in the fall as temperatures cool off. This schedule will help promote root growth in your lawn. If you water every day, the water stays near the surface and good strong roots don't get established.
Note: If you see runoff, you will need to break up your one watering time into two or more. See Problem 1 below.
1) The Problem: Money runoff
One of the easier ways to conserve water is to check for water running off your lawn and into the street. If you have water hitting the sidewalk, the street, and passing cars, you might as well stand outside and throw dollar bills into the street! You paid for that water and you're not getting anything from it and it certainly isn't helping your lawn.
The Solution: Change your watering times
This problem is very easy to fix. The most likely reasons for the runoff are poorly adjusted sprinklers or that you are watering too long and/or have clay in your soil that doesn't allow water to penetrate. You can easily adjust your sprinkler heads so the water falls only on the lawn and not on the sidewalk.
If the sprinklers are adjusted and you still have runoff, you should break up your watering times into shorter cycles with down time in between. For example: If you are watering every other day for 15 minutes (and you should be!) at 7 am and are seeing runoff, break it up into 7 minutes at 6 am and 8 minutes at 7am. You could also water once in the evening and then again in the morning. Either way you will stop wasting water and money!
2) The Problem: Broken or Leaky Sprinklers
Are you wondering why your water bill jumped without you changing anything? You might have a leak or a broken sprinkler head. Unfortunately, it's not always as simple as water shooting up out of the pipe.
The Solution: Check for Leaks and Regular Maintenance
You can use your water meter to check for slow or underground leaks. Every meter has a spinning triangle called a tattletale that spins when water is moving through the meter. If you turn off the water in your home and yard and the tattletale is still spinning then you might have a leak.
Many sprinkler parts are made of plastic and sometimes they just don't last very long. Often a sprinkler will still work but there might be a crack in the riser or the pop-up that leaks water. Usually you can see this as there will be runoff onto the street or a continuously wet spot in your lawn. Fortunately, replacing the broken or cracked piece should fix the problem.
If you water early in the morning it can be easy to miss problems with your system. You should run it manually every once in a while and make any necessary adjustments.
3) The Problem: Brown Spots in Your Lawn!
Your dream of a nice green lawn is shattered by these darn brown spots that look awful!
3) One Solution: Adjust Your Sprinklers!
Brown spots are often a result of poor sprinkler coverage, particulary if the spots are near sprinkler heads. Irrigation systems are usually designed so that the water drops thrown farthest by one head land right at the next head, this is called head to head coverage. If you don't have it then you can get brown spots.
All you need to do is adjust the sprinkler's range to reach the next head. On most pop-up spray heads this is done by turning a small screw in the middle of the head. If you have to replace a head, be sure to get one with the same range as your other ones. You should also consider changing out your heads to MP Rotators.
If adjusting the heads doesn't work then the spots might be caused by something else such as: dog urine, mowing too closely, dull mower blades, insects, or different sprinkler heads on the same valve. You might want to consult a lawn care professional.
Pop-up Spray Head
Different Sprinkler Heads Perform Differently
Pop-up spray heads are a very common way to water a lawn. Water pressure causes the head to "pop-up" and then retract when the water goes off. This allows the heads to stay out of the way when you are mowing. Most pop-up systems have a plastic body with a riser that slides up and down and a sprinkler nozzle that screws on to the top. This allows you to change out the nozzles if necessary. The nozzles produce a fan spray that can be adjusted to various angles.
On average, pop-up spray heads put out about 1.5 inches of water per hour and are about 50% efficient. Some problems with spray heads are that they don't do well in the wind and higher pressures can cause misting.
A basic lawn watering schedule with pop-ups would be 4 times a week/15 minutes a day/after the sun goes down.
This works out to about 60 minutes a week or about 1 inch of water.
Gear rotors are another common type of sprinkler. These send out a single stream of water and slowly rotate over the lawn. These sprinklers average about .5 inches of water per hour and thus require a longer watering time. Gear rotors are about 65% efficient and are commonly used in large turf areas because they can throw water long distances.
In order to put down 1 inch of water with gear rotors you need to run them for about 30 minutes every other day. This amount of time will probably cause some runoff so you should break it up at different times.
MP Rotators are multi-stream rotors that use water pressure to rotate across your lawn. These sprinklers average about .5 inches of water per hour and are about 80% efficient. The individual streams of water hold up well in the wind and the efficiency can save you water. MP Rotators are still fairly new on the market but are becoming popular for slopes and lawns because they can significantly reduce runoff. They are more expensive than regular sprinkler heads but EVMWD now has a program for homeowners.
A basic schedule with MP Rotators would be 30 minutes a day, every other day. They are more efficient than the gear rotors.
The MP rotator is a good choice for homeowners because they easily screw into your existing pop-up spray bodies and allow you to get good water savings and reduce runoff at a reasonable price.
You can buy MP Rotators at:
Ewing Irrigation 27562 Commerce Center Dr. Temecula, CA 92590 Phone: (951) 506-9530
Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply 28074 Del Rio Rd, Temecula (951) 676-5678
John Deere Landscapes
Check our rebate page for information on how to save money on MP Rotators
What is ET?
Evapotranspiration (ET) is the fancy way of describing the amount of water used by a plant and then evaporated into the air. ET is measured at local weather stations and can useful in determining how much you should water throughout the year.
ET is measured in inches of water and can be broken down by day, month, or year. The ET for a Tall Fescue lawn (the highest water user) in the EVMWD service area is about 55 inches a year with the highest requirements occurring in the summer months. The highest amount in the summer is referenced as 100% of ET while the lower amounts for the rest of year are expressed as lower percentages. By using these percentages you can adjust your watering times and get just the right amount of water to your plants.
The Metropolitan Water District has a Watering Index on their website that you can use www.bewaterwise.com
There are a variety of new "smart" irrigation controllers that use ET to adjust your watering times so you don't have to! These controllers are particularly useful when the weather changes as they will adjust to changes in temperatures and make sure your plants get just the right amount of water. This technology is still fairly new and hasn't reached Home Depot or Lowes, but you can get them at the following local irrigation supply stores.
Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply at 28074 Del Rio Rd, Temecula (951) 676-5678
Ewing Irrigation 27562 Commerce Center Dr. Temecula, CA 92590 Phone: (951) 506-9530
Click here for a list of "smart controllers"
Saving Water Indoors: Lots of Ways to Save!
Because we live in a semi-arid region, we need to use every drop of water wisely. If you check for and repair water leaks, economize, install water-saving devices and reuse water when possible, you will see considerable savings in your water bill.
Up to 25% of home inside water use is in the bathroom. You can follow these easy steps to save water:
- Install High Efficiency Toilets(1.28 gallons per flush) if your home was built before 1994
- Repair toilet leaks, they can waste up to 60 gallons of water per day
- Install showerheads that use only 2.5 gallons per minute or less
Clothes washers can use up to 25% of the water used inside the home. To save water:
Purchase a High Efficiency Clothes Washer. The new front loading machines are easy to use and they are guaranteed to save you water and money! By eliminating the agitator, front loading machines use 40% less water and probably an equivalent amount of energy.
Based on reports from EVMWD customers who have purchased these machines, they can save you anywhere from $10-$20 per month on your water and energy bills. They cost a little more up front but they are worth it!
- Always wash full loads of clothes
- Use shorter cycles when possible
- If you have a wash sink in your laundry area, install aerators and do not leave the water running
Kitchen faucets can use the most significant amount of water. To save water in the kitchen, you can follow these easy steps:
- Use faucet aerators
- Do not leave the water running while you clean dishes
- Fix faucet leaks right away; a leaky faucet can waste up to 15 gallons of water per day
- Use the short cycle on your dishwasher
- Only wash full loads of dishes
Landscapes typically represent the largest portion of residential water use. You can significantly reduce water use by doing the following:
- Replace thirsty lawn with California Friendly plant material and install drip irrigation
- Attend free landscape classes each Spring and Fall at EVMWD
- If water is running onto the sidewalk or over the curb, you need to shorten watering cycles
- Always water early morning to avoid evaporation loss and windy conditions
|How much water do I use?|
|Task||Use in Gallons|
|Shower, regular shower head – 5 min.||11|
Bath, full tub
Toliet Flush, regular tank
Shaving, open tap – 10 min.
Brush Teeth, open tap – 10 min.
Dishwasher, standard cycle
Manual dishwashing, open tap – 15 min.
Dishwashing, full basin
Washing the car, open hose
199 – 206
72,635 – 75,190
|By Conserving how much water do I save?|
|Task||Use in Gallons |
|Shower, regular shower head – 5 min. ||10 |
Bath, half tub
Toliet Flush, ultra low flow tank
|Shaving, full basin ||1|
Brush Teeth, fill cup
Dishwasher, short cycle
Washing the car, bucket and hose with shutoff nozzle
|TOTAL GALLONS/DAY |
58.1 - 88.6
21,206 – 32,339