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Rainy Season? Mother Nature Not Helping Southern California Irrigation
Stay Green Inc.
Los Angeles Rainfall graph for 2010-2012Being in sunny Southern California certainly has more than its share of up sides. And, while many of us enjoy those hot days by the swimming pool and a seemingly endless summer, we have those inevitable dry years when it seems like we could catch all our rainfall in a thimble.

Dry. That’s the word that applies this fall when we talk about our own local climate, as a long, hot summer draws to a close, leaving Southern California parched and leaving many water users with hefty water bills.

As we manage our clients’ landscaping and irrigation, we’re taking extra care to strike that right balance — ensuring that trees, shrubs and turf get the irrigation they need to survive this hot dry spell, while also assuring that we don’t overwater, so we maximize our region’s precious water resources and protect our customers from excessively high water bills.

The precipitation numbers tell the story: Anyone in Souther California who irrigates landscaped properties has not gotten much help from Mother Nature this year.

For example, in Castaic, the recorded precipitation for this calendar year was just 3.09 inches through September. In contrast, over the same period in 2011 more than double that amount was recorded, with 6.35 inches of precipitation through September en route to a year-end total of 8.91 inches.

Similarly, the rain season totals in Los Angeles are down this year compared to last year and the year before that. The 2011-2012 rain season, running from October 2011 through September 2012, was just 57 percent of normal, with 8.7 inches of precipitation.  The previous two years were at 133 percent and 108 percent, respectively.

So, while we’d all gotten used to some “natural irrigation” over the past couple years, the lack of precipitation we’ve experienced this year coupled with several scorching heat waves this past summer have left our landscapes even thirstier than usual.

SprinklerThat’s why services like Stay Green’s Water Management Services and our Sustainability Practices are more important than ever. Utilizing state-of-the-art weather-based irrigation control technology, we provide our clients’ landscapes with just the right amount of irrigation based not just on precipitation but also on other weather factors, including temperature and evapotranspiration, which is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration.

In other words, with weather-based irrigation control, landscapes get water when they need it, but not when they don’t — protecting the client from paying for unnecessary irrigation.

It’s a fact of life, though, that we will have dry years like this one when a bit more water is needed, which may explain a bit of a spike in your water bill. There are other steps we can take, too, to help customers save water. For example, Stay Green’s Design/Build Services team specializes in designing and constructing landscapes that are best suited to a property’s unique climate and soil conditions. Creation of drought-tolerant landscapes and replacement of turf with attractive, less-thirsty plantings can do wonders to help a property owner get through dry years like this one without supersizing the water bill.

If you’d like more information on how Stay Green’s team can help you save water — and absorb the hot, dry years like 2012 — please give us a call at (800) 741-9150.