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Posted on: May 4, 2020

Wise irrigation practices can keep lawns green and utility bills down

water sprinkler

With the start of warmer weather, CFPUA urges customers to adopt irrigation practices that result in the most efficient, cost-effective use of water – and the healthiest landscapes.

Total demand for drinking water from CFPUA customers in April has been about 3 percent less than April 2019, when weather conditions were far drier and hotter. Stay-at-home orders and other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected drinking water demand by CFPUA customers, but the effects have been dramatically different among CFPUA’s three drinking water systems:


System

Description

April 2020 Average Daily Demand (gallons)

Change from April 2019

Sweeney

Provides about 80 percent of CFPUA’s drinking water

14 million

-9%

Richardson

Serves northern New Hanover County, including Murrayville, Wrightsboro, Porters Neck, and parts of Castle Hayne and Ogden

2.9 million

+25%

Monterey Heights

Serves customers south of the Monkey Junction area

0.9 million

+36%


This likely is the result, at least in part, of COVID-19-related closures or partial closures of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College, and other larger water users such as hotels and restaurants in the Sweeney service area. In contrast, the Richardson and Monterey Heights customer bases are more heavily weighted toward residential accounts.

During the spring and summer, landscape irrigation can make up a large portion of residential water use. Conscientious irrigation can help conserve water, reduce customers’ utility bills, and, according to landscape experts, result in healthier lawns and landscapes. A good plan involves:

  • About 1 inch total of water on landscapes per week. This includes rainfall, so you don’t need to water at all in weeks where we’ve received a good shower.
  • Watering two to three times per week. Your total for the week should still be 1 inch.
  • Watering between midnight and 6 a.m., to reduce water lost to evaporation.

CFPUA and other local utilities that are raw water customers of the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority recently adopted a water supply emergency plan, with steps to be implemented in case of drought or water-supply disruption. This plan includes an irrigation schedule that can serve as a model for homeowners:

Odd house numbers (e.g. 1235 Main Street): Water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Even house numbers (e.g. 1234 Main Street): Water on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

No watering on Mondays.

CFPUA encourages customers to make adjustments to their irrigation schedules to keep their lawns green and more “green” in their pockets.