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How Many Gallons?

7 years ago

Hi, I'm new to owning a home after a whole life in apartments, and I've got a lawn watering question. I live in Zone 9 in California, and my first water bill arrived. It says that I used 16,400 gallons of water in July, which seemed incredibly high, but, having never owned a house, I had no way to see if this might be close to being correct. I went in to city hall, and the woman at reception kindly printed out my daily usage graph for me. Most of the month, I hardly used any water at all (I live alone), but on lawn watering days, I was using right around 850 gallons on the lawn each time.

I'm on a Hunter X-Core controller that's set to water four times a week. Here's the breakdown:

Zone A: 16 sprinkler heads that run for 12 minutes on the main part of the lawn

Zone B: 15 sprinkler heads that run for 12 minutes on the part of the lawn on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street and on a strip of grass on the other side of my driveway

Zone C: 21 drip lines that run for 17 minutes and are used to water the shrubs

The X-Core was programmed by who-knows-who (I'm assuming it was whomever put in the irrigation stuff), and I left it alone when I moved in. The last time that it watered the lawn, I stayed out there throughout the whole cycle, and I just can't see how I could be using 850 gallons in those 41 total minutes. There's no run-off except for a little bit that sprays out of the sprinklers closest to the street.

The back yard is barren (as, apparently, is a common practice in some places), and I had intended to plant fescue seed as soon as it was the right time of the year for doing so, but that would be an additional 2,084 square feet to have to water. The front yard is about 750 square feet, so I'm assuming that I'd be using 300% more water for the back yard alone, meaning that I'd be using around 3,400 gallons each time I watered the lawn/shrubs. Obviously, I'm not doing that, but here are my questions:

1) Is it really possible that my current irrigation program uses 850 gallons every time I water the lawn? I suspect that it can't be right, that the city's meters are not calibrated correctly, but I have no way of knowing.

2) If the consensus on here is that my usage seems artificially high, what's the next step?

3) Am I watering the lawn too often and/or for too long? I taught myself how to program the X-Core, so I know how to reduce the amount of days that I water and the duration of that watering if that's something that I need to do.

Thanks for any and all advice.

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