|In Stage 2, soaker hoses may only be used on your designated watering day and only during approved hours.|
Customers frequently ask what the difference is between drip irrigation and soaker hoses. Most of the time, they are grouped together as fairly efficient means of applying water directly to the soil without exposing it to evaporative loss. But, there are some differences and these become important in Stage 2 Drought Restrictions.
Think of them as different types of cars. One is slow and very efficient. The other strains to be fast, but is not very efficient.
Drip irrigation can be thought of as the slow, efficient car. It provides water to the soil and plant in a gradual, exact manner. Most drip systems are designed by professional irrigators to maximize coverage. Moreover, drip irrigation is pressure regulated to provide the same amount of water throughout the system.
Soaker hoses, on the other hand, provide water inexactly and in varied amounts. The variations can be extensive if the hose bib is turned too far. Never turn the bib more than a quarter turn. Even then, on a single hose, you may have a lot more water in one spot of the garden than another, and soaker hoses typically put out more water at the front end of the hose. This is because soaker hoses are not pressure regulated or have pressure regulated emitters built in.
During Stage 1 watering restrictions, soaker hoses can be used any day, any time. In Stage 2, the rules change; because they are less efficient, soaker hoses may only be used on your designated watering day and only during the approved hours of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Drip irrigation can be used on any day as long as it's during the approved hours. Watering with a hand-held hose is allowed any time on any day in Stages 1 and 2.
Mark Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System.