As winter approaches, there are many things to consider with regard to our irrigation systems. We see from the EyeOnWater app that people who do not correctly winterize their irrigation systems experience leaks with a hard freeze or when the system is turned on again in the spring. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause irrigation-system parts to burst and break. Draining your system of all water is the only way to ensure that it will still be in working order when the spring arrives.

Remember to empty out your rain barrels and pull any operating pumps, and we recommend insulating outside hose bibs. Even when precautions are taken, pipes will occasionally crack or burst during cold weather. We recommend investigating your systems after every thaw to make sure you don’t see obvious leaks or wet spots and that all above-ground pipes are not leaking or broken. Tips on winterizing irrigation systems can be found on our website:

The City’s free EyeOnWater app has a helpful feature that allows you to set an alert so you can be notified if continuous flow is detected indicating a leak. A small leak often grows bigger over time. Water leaking out of your pipes or fixtures will eventually cause enough corrosion that even a pinhole-sized leak can grow and potentially cause damage to your home. Leaks can be costly and can require a lot of work to be fixed. The early notification from the EyeOnWater app can help you get ahead of the problem, save water, save money and avoid further destruction to your property.

The EyeOnWater app can also help you save water indoors. With the app you are able to see your annual, monthly, daily, and even hourly water usage. This allows you to pinpoint water used in your home for specific purposes such as irrigation, dishwasher and washing-machine cycles, and even showers and toilet flushes. It can help you detect leaks down to a leaking flapper or dripping faucet by letting you know that water is being used continuously throughout the day. This means that you would be notified within 24 hours that an issue is occurring rather than waiting the several weeks it might take you to receive your bill and be notified that your water use has increased.

Saving water is important in every season. Some other winter water-conservation tips include replacing low-efficiency appliances such as toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines to not only save water but also money with the City’s rebate program.

Re-use water when you can. Water captured from your showers can be used to water potted plants or trees. Most importantly use your EyeOnWater app to check your daily usage to see where you could make improvement as well as to make sure you don’t have a leak. For more information about the app or to get the instructions on how to sign up visit

Christine Y. Chavez has a background in water rights administration and energy and water conservation program management in New Mexico. She is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a B.S. in environmental science and an M.S. in biology. Christine is the manager of the City of Santa Fe’s Water Conservation Office. She may be reached at 505-955-4219 or

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