Message from Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle

Spring forward and check your sprinkler settings to help save water

March 11, 2021

Water less

Spring is in the air and many of us are getting outdoors to tend to lawns and gardens. If you use an automatic irrigation system, this weekend’s time change is also a built-in reminder to check your system and settings to help conserve water.

This month, the St. Johns River Water Management District kicks off the next phase of our year-long “Water Less” campaign, asking “Did You Set it and Forget it?” Our campaign focuses on water-conserving strategies to help curb outdoor water use while still maintaining a healthy landscape. Rainfall is frequently sufficient, but if you do irrigate your lawn and landscape, you can reduce the amount of water you use with a well-designed sprinkler system and regular maintenance. It’s a simple approach to saving water.

You may be surprised to know that half the water used in our homes and businesses is used outdoors, and studies show up to half of that water could be conserved.

Here are a few easy ideas to save water:

  • Check irrigation system timing devices regularly to make sure they are operating properly.
  • Ensure your system is set to follow watering restrictions, if you need to water at all.
  • Follow Florida law, which requires that all automatic sprinkler systems installed after May 1991 have a functioning rain sensor shut-off switch.
  • Install the most water-efficient spray heads designed for different uses (turf areas, planting beds, etc.).
  • Fix any broken or misdirected sprinkler heads.
  • Check that water is only spraying on the landscape.
  • Look for leaks and clogs.

In addition to the spring focus of “Did You Set it and Forget it,” we recommend “Watch the Weather, Wait to Water” during the rainy Florida summer, and then switch to “Fall Back” during autumn when lawns and landscapes slow down their growth for the cooler months.

Last year, the District’s Water Less messages were seen almost 10 million times, and a good percentage of residents surveyed indicated a willingness to change their habits in favor of water conservation outdoors. This year, we invite you to visit our updated campaign website, WaterLessFlorida.com, where we have an interactive home water use survey, a searchable plant database, informational quizzes, stories on how your neighbors are saving water, water use reports and more.

Thank you for doing your part this spring — and always — to protect Florida’s water resources.

See our past stories