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Effective June 5th
Our new watering schedule becomes official in June. By now if you are one of our City of Merced water customers, you’ve received the notice in your bill explaining the new water schedule. We wanted to give everyone plenty of time to hear about the changes before they went into effect. So it’s about to become the new normal and we should be in the process of making the change. In case you don’t receive a bill and still live in Merced, here’s the schedule:
Addresses ending in 2, 4, 6, 8, or 0, Water on Tuesdays & Saturdays
Addresses ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9, Water on Wednesdays & Sundays
And the new window of hours to water are midnight to 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. to midnight; the best time for your lawn is early in the morning.
For more information or questions, check out the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or call the Public Works Water Department at 385-6800. And keep your eye on these Green Tips articles for future water savings advice and information.
Preparing to reduce
The best way to lose weight is to go on a diet, whether it be low calorie, low fat, less food, more exercise, you have to have a plan to cut back. Water conservation can be likened to going on a diet. We need water for so many essential things and we enjoy water for so many other things. We need water to drink, to prepare food, to grow food, and grow the animals that we use as food; and for a myriad of other processes. Water is part of our life as recreation, entertainment and pleasure.
As we approach the typical hot Merced summer, we have to incorporate new habits related to water, in effect a water diet. Where can we cut back and how much can we reduce? Just like planning to diet and making healthy eating a habit, we have to make healthy water use a habit. The City of Merced and the Governor are asking us to reduce our outdoor watering to just two days per week. Because the typical household uses about 70% of their daily water outdoors, reducing to two days of watering is an excellent way to cut back on water use. How can we make this happen?
Preparation is the key, take a look at your timer and learn how to use it. Most are fairly simple and come with instructions. If you can’t find the instructions or never had them provided don’t worry, you can contact the manufacturer for assistance. Most irrigation controllers have an on-line set of instructions and many include a video explaining how to program them. You can also ask a lawn or irrigation professional for help. Your gardener is a great source for help with an older controller. And if you turn on the sprinklers by hand, you will only have to make this happen two days per week instead of three.
The Master Gardeners recommend a “cycle & soak” approach to lawn watering. For example, turn the sprinklers on for 10 minutes, then let it soak in (maybe 30 minutes), then turn it on for another 10 minutes, then let it soak in. It’s better than a full 20 minutes straight, which more than likely will result in water running off the lawn and into the gutter. Water run-off occurs when the water has been on too long and the ground is saturated.
For more information on reducing your water use call the City of Merced, Water Conservation Specialist at 385-6800.
How to Read Your Meter
Your water meter can tell you a lot of useful information. You can use your meter to monitor your water use and to check for leaks. With the hard freeze that we’ve just experienced in Merced, it’s a good idea to check around your property for any cracked pipes and leaky sprinklers.
First locate your water meter, which should be in the front yard, either in the grass or side walk. The lid will say WATER on it and it will have a notch where you can insert a long screw driver to pop the lid up. Be careful when removing and replacing the lid, you don’t want to drop the lid on your foot or on the top of the meter! The top of your meter will look like the photo.
Each full turn of the red dial is 1 cubic foot which is equal to 7.48 gallons. In the City of Merced, your base water rate includes 30 hcf (hundred cubic feet) or 22,400 gallons of water per month. You can use more that 30 hcf of water, but it will cause your bill to increase. The little blue dial is a low flow indicator and will move even when you have a small leak. If all water inside and outside of your house is turned off completely and you check your meter, it should be perfectly still; unless you have a leak, then you will see the little blue dial moving.
The water odometer, records water use like a car odometer will record miles. The odometer records water use in cubic feet. The digits from the right represent 1 cubic foot, 10 cubic feet, and 100 cubic feet respectfully. You can tell how much water is being used if you write down your meter odometer’s full number, then come back the next week or month later and record that number. Subtract the first number recorded from the most recent and that will tell you how many cubic feet have been used during that time frame. You can convert it to gallons by multiplying that number by 7.48; then you will know how many gallons that you used during that time frame. You can divide that number by the amount of days in between your recordings to find out an average of how many gallons per day you are using. And if you find that you have a leak, fix it right away. Leaking pipes are like money down the drain and simply a waste of our precious resource.
For more information on how to read your water meter, you can contact me at the Public Works department, 385-6800.