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Village Landscaping Waterworks

In light of recent resident queries regarding perceived overwatering in the Village (watering several times during the night or day), Director of Landscaping Services Kurt Wiemann shares the following about the community’s irrigation system:

Soil can absorb only so much water at a time; additional water runs off and is wasted. Watering several times during the night or during the day is a common practice referred to as “cycle and soak” programing, which reduces water waste by programming a fixed maximum irrigation period per station to minimize runoff. Typical spray heads are generally set at a maximum cycle time of 3 minutes, which is the limit of how much water the soil can absorb, with a minimum soaking time of 20 minutes between cycles. 

As an example, our weather-based program may calculate a necessary total run time of 12 minutes on any spray head station. The computer then breaks the total run time into four 3-minute cycles, which may appear to some as watering too many times. We have a large number of controllers with multiple stations that often require the program to continue into the morning hours. We do our best to place late-running stations in less commonly used areas, such as slopes and hard-to-access areas, to minimize the impact to residents. Additionally, due to resident demand, we now plant year-round; new plantings require additional watering to keep the new root structure moist to avoid “planting shock.”

Our irrigation system was designed and installed when the community was originally constructed and, at that time, little thought was put into water conservation, and this is brought to light by the issues we face now. Sidewalk overspray is an ongoing battle; the shapes of planters/turf areas are often irregular and don’t fit normal spray patterns. We address this issue by slowly converting to stream heads that mist and overspray less. The Village also has many areas smaller than what spray heads are designed to cover. To address this issue in both mutuals, staff actively eliminates these smaller turf areas.

Many things are not ideal with our irrigation system. For example, modern irrigation systems feature different south-/west-facing stations from north-/east-facing stations, as the former are located in hotter and drier areas and require more water. Our irrigation systems are set up so that multiple buildings with all four faces are on the same station, making perfect watering patterns impossible. There will always be some areas that are watered too much in order to get enough water to dry areas. Fixing this is a monumental task. In United, shrub beds and turf areas all were originally on the same irrigation stations; we’ve been working for years, spending approximately $10,000 annually, to separate them.

If you have questions about Landscaping Services, please contact Resident Services at 949-597-4600 or email residentservices@vmsinc.org

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