Does Your New Place Use Canal Water Irrigation? Learn About Possible Restrictions

If you've recently moved to an area that uses open canal water for irrigation, rather than taking irrigation water from the drinking-water supply, be prepared to make some adjustments. Your ability to use sprinkler water for gardening and recreation will change substantially. You'll still be able to have a garden, pool, and other water-based home features, but you must be careful to get the water from the right source. Here's a rundown of what you can expect as the weather gets warmer and your water usage goes up.

No More Running Through Sprinklers

If you don't have a pool at your new home, your children might ask to run through the sprinklers like theyat your old home during hot weather. If your irrigation system gets its water from a nearby canal instead of a city treated-water system, though, running through the sprinklers would expose your children to potentially harmful bacteria. That also means you should keep them off the lawn while the water soaks into the soil and dries.

Direct Sprinkler Spray Away From Pool

If you do have a pool or decide to get one installed, ensure your sprinklers are aimed away from it. A good sprinkler installation company can change the sprinkler heads so that the ones closest to the pool spray in half or quarter circles instead of full circles. Because sprinklers are supposed to have such a wide reach, you might have to have additional sprinkler heads adjusted. To ensure that all of your lawn still gets adequate water, have the sprinkler company recalculate the projection and range needed for each sprinkler head. And do not connect your pool's water system to your irrigation system thinking you'll fill the pool with safe water!

Direct Sprinkler Spray Away From Edible Gardens

Whether your vegetable garden is planted in beds or containers, or whether you have fruit trees lining your backyard, you have to keep canal water off the edible parts of the plants. That might sound strange given that the canal water is irrigation water that's also used on farms. But the open nature of the canals means that anything can get into the water. It's fine to water grass and non-edible plants with the water.

But if the water splashes onto edible parts, or touches them underground (as with root vegetables), then the edible parts can become contaminated. And it's not really clear how well you have to wash the fruits and vegetables to ensure that all of the bacteria or other matter is gone by the time you eat the fruit or vegetable.

Have a good sprinkler installation company modify the sprinkler heads near these plants, just like you would for the area of your yard near your pool. You might also want to talk to the company about hooking up the sprinkler system to your drinking water pipes, though this might be prohibited in some areas due to worries about drought and water supply.