It saddens me to say that WaterWise Consulting will no longer be hosting this blog.  We have opted to use an electronic newsletter.  To join our monthly newsletter, please go to our website at and sign up.  You can also find past issues of the newsletter on the WaterWise webpage.  We want to thank those of you who participated in our discussions and hope you join our newsletter mailing list. 

The newsletter is in electronic form and will bring to you an interesting article each month with some water saving tips or plant material facts.  WaterWise will occasionally add a coupon for discounted rates for our services.  So, it may benefit you to join.  Note: Our twitter account has now been changed to @WaterWise_Inc.  Please follow us there.

A Bad Lesson!

Watch this new video created by Green Media Creations to see why toilets should not be used as trash cans! This short video can be used to educate children about why toilets should not be used as garbage cans, and the unfortunate events that may occur if they are used as such. You’ll also save water and money with fewer flushes!

Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation controllers soon!

Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation system to coincide with the seasons. Many people program their irrigation controllers when they are installed, and then forget about them. While this is undoubtedly the easiest and carefree way, this method is also the most expensive and causes the most problems for plants. Plant water needs biologically fluctuate with the seasons-plants both expect and need more water during the dry season than the rainy season. By programming your irrigation controller and forgetting it, plants receive the same amount of water year-round.
The simple fix for this common problem is programming your irrigation controller to water less (if any, at all) during the rainy season. Ideally, irrigation systems water more as the rainy season ends, and peaks around July or August (in California). From then until about November, the irrigation tapers off until the rainy season provides 100% of the needed water.
Another simple fix for this problem is to install a “smart” controller. A smart controller is one that uses local weather data to automatically alter the amount of irrigation. The smart controllers do this by using local weather data from nearby weather stations to calculate the evapotranspiration rates of each plant type your controller is programmed for. Evapotranspiration rates are the amount of water that effectively flows through a plant, which is directly related to the plant’s individual water need. If you are interested, please visit our homepage for more information on smart controllers, and how WaterWise can help you get one for cheaper, with rebates!
Brian O’Neill

Conserve water with smart landscaping

Often the most wasteful areas of water use is that of landscaping. Irrigating landscape often uses immense amounts of water because many decorative plants have high water demands. Also, poor landscape design can lead to wasted water by causing excess runoff and even small-scale flooding in areas.

Landscape irrigation often requires immense amounts of water because of the non-native choices that many homeowners make when designing their landscape. In California, for example, many gardeners select ornamental plants for the colorful flowers that last only a few weeks at a time. In order to significantly reduce the amount of water used to irrigate your garden, you should consider planting native species in your garden. Many of these plants have beautiful flowers and attract native wildlife such as birds and various mammal species.

Another significant cause of wastewater in landscape is poor landscape design. Extensive areas of non-permeable hardscape cause small-scale flooding because the water often has nowhere to drain. In my own yard, for example, there is a section of cement approximately 10’ wide by 25’ long that was used as a patio by the previous owner, which now fills with water every time it rains. One of the easiest solutions to this problem is replacing non-permeable hardscape with a permeable version. You can buy cement pavers at local hardware stores, and these allow the water to pass between each piece, helping drain water and replenish underground storage basins. When water is unable to enter the ground, it is most often channeled into sewage systems where it must be treated and re-released into the environment.

For more information, visit
Brian O’Neill

What one company is doing to change the world

For many farmers in developing nations, water is the most precious resource-even more so than gold or silver. That is because water is the only long-term solution for starving populations. Debatably one of the main reasons for these nations to remain in the “developing” state, as opposed to “developed” is because they do not have the resources to fuel their growing population. Most notably—these nations simply are unable to feed their citizens. One of the common methods for food production in developing nations is self-production. This is where individual families tend to their small farms, and grow just enough food for themselves. In bountiful years, their surplus food is either kept in storage for drought years, or it is traded in a market for other goods, such as tools. However, families often cannot grow enough food to sustain themselves—let alone create a food surplus to barter with.
There are two ways to grow more crops with water: either use more water, or use the same amount of water more efficiently. One small startup company founded by Stanford graduate students has developed a mechanism to use the same amount of water more efficiently. Similar to a drip system, this mechanism is a tube with holes in very cheap tubing. This tubing evenly distributes water over individual plants, instead of flooding rows of crops, or entire fields. This mechanism costs as little as $5 to supply enough tubing for an entire farm. For $15 extra, the families are able to grow crops during the dry season, likely due to a water storage tank.
By enabling farms in developing nations to grow surplus food, people will be able to trade it in the market, obtain tools to further increase food production, and repeat the cycle. This cheap, $5 device could create a source of income for impoverished families world-wide. As a result, nations would have stronger populations and more ability to create economic change and power.
Brian O’Neill