Almost 70% of the annual water use for Incline Village and Crystal Bay is irrigation. Homeowners can save water and save money by making sure their irrigation system is properly maintained. Here are a few tips:

  • After you turn on the system run the entire sprinkler system, one zone at a time.  Check for signs of leakage, especially for damage to sprinkler heads, backflow devices, valves or piping.  You may need to clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.
  • Replace the controller batteries each spring and check that the controller is working.  Program your irrigation timing to be heavier in late spring/early summer to encourage new growth, then reduce irrigation as plants mature.
  • Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape, not sidewalks or pavement.  Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.  You may want to consider replacing old sprinkler heads with new MP Rotator style heads, which are designed for much greater efficiency. 
  • Set it, but don’t forget it. Automatic sprinkler systems aren't completely automatic.  They don’t adjust themselves when it gets hotter or when it rains. Most controllers have a feature that makes adjusting your schedule a very easy process.  Also, remember to regularly check for broken or misguided sprinklers.
  • The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) recommends the use of phosphorus-free fertilizer in order to protect our beautiful water source, Lake Tahoe.  Tahoe soils have an adequate source of phosphorus. Look for a fertilizer in which the middle number, phosphorus, is 0 (i.e. 10-0-10).

Lake Tahoe Home Landscaping Guide

A fabulous resource for learning about water conservation strategies is the UNR Cooperative Extension publication, “The Home Landscaping Guide for Lake Tahoe and Vicinity”. Click the link to check out this easy to read guide.

Tahoe Specific Turf/Landscape Management

The UNR Cooperative Extension has also worked to develop the following publications to help property owners protect the waters of Lake Tahoe:

Tahoe Resource Conservation District also has a website which has muliple easy to read PDFs on irrigation, plant selection, conservation landscaping:

Basic tips for water conservation:

  • Never water during the middle of the day
  • Become re-acquainted with your broom, never hose off driveways and sidewalks
  • Install an irrigation timer
  • Replace and repair spray heads
  • Water in short spurts rather than one long session
  • Check out our local demonstration garden website.

Sprinklers 101 Tools

Irrigation season has started very early this year. Facing a long, dry summer, it is important that landscape irrigation be done efficiently and effectively. The Save Our Water program has launched a new “Sprinklers 101” web-based resource to provide information and online tools about water-efficient residential irrigation. Visit for more information.