We use the most water during the hot summer months when we take more showers and water our lawns more often. In James City County, peak season demand increases 40 percent over annual daily averages, and 50% over winter daily averages.
What is "peak season" and why do I have to be concerned about it?
Peak season is the term used by water utilities to define their highest times of water consumption, which usually occurs between May 1 and October 30. We use the most water during the hot summer months when we take more showers and water our lawns more often. In James City County, peak season demand increases 40% over annual daily averages, and 50% over winter daily averages. Most of the increase is due to residential customers using their irrigation systems inefficiently or incorrectly.
Reducing peak consumption is important to you because water system improvements and expansions are based on peak projections, and if consumption exceeds projections, the system is strained. The end results are decreased water pressure, which could impact fire safety, costly infastructure repairs, and system expansion. Repairs and expansions may result in higher rates for the customer.
How can I keep my lawn healthy if I don't water?
The number one cause of disease in turf is over-watering. Healthy lawns only need one inch of water per week. The best way to ensure a healthy lawn is by choosing the right grass or mixture of grasses for your yard and by maintaining an annual nutrient management schedule.
For homeowners with irrigation systems, properly installed systems equipped with moisture sensors and automatic timers are the easiest way to ensure efficient watering. Set your timers to water between four and six a.m. If you water between six and eight a.m., your irrigation competes with the surge in morning household use. If you water during the heat of the day, much of the water is wasted through evaporation.
If you don't own an irrigation system, and water by hand, you can buy an automatic water shut off valve for your outdoor faucet. These valves are available in your local hardware store for under $15.00.
Allowing cool season grasses to go dormant during dry, hot spells is another way to decrease watering. Your grass may lose some color, but it will revive when rainfall increases and the temperature cools.
The best source of local lawn care management information in the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office.