Especially in the summer, multifamily property owners feel the heat from watering landscapes, keeping pools filled and fountains running. These features, while crucial for attracting and retaining tenants, represent a large cost every month throughout the year. This article provides tips about smarter outdoor water use that offer measurable returns in a short time frame.
Reduce water use without compromise
Multifamily property owners on the lookout for ways to improve Net Operating Income (NOI) will do well to look at reducing outdoor water waste. Banyan Water has found that most properties can maintain their landscapes while reducing irrigation water use by 50-70%. For some properties this easily adds up to millions of gallons of water and thousands of dollars per year.
Landscaping – How Much Irrigation Water is Too Much?
Changing Weather & Changing Needs
Rain in your region doesn’t mean rain on your property, so it is best to have a system that measures and reacts to the weather conditions on your specific property. Many modern irrigation systems have devices that track the amount of rain that falls on the property and suspend all watering for a given period after rains. Actively managed systems take even more complex factors into consideration to help put a finer point on determining when to water after rain and exactly how much water is needed.
To determine if you are using the right amount of water for your property, the EPA has developed a helpful Water Budget Calculator that takes a number of factors into consideration and calculates the amount of water that you should be planning to use.
You can read more detail in our article Smart Irrigation Reduces Water Use.
Pools & Fountains
Pools and fountains are great for enhancing the aesthetics and lifestyle appeal of a property, but these systems can have hidden leaks that make them much more expensive than property owners realize.
For example, one property had a leaking fountain losing 5.6 million gallons of water per year, costing the property over $2000 in water bills every month. Repairing the leak increased their NOI and saved significant amounts of water on the property.
Tips for Saving Water in Water Features
- Check equipment and joints to see if water is coming out anywhere. Above-ground leaks are usually the easiest to fix.
- Make sure your float valve is working properly. If it’s broken, it will automatically “refill” the pool or fountain with unnecessary extra water. This is very similar to the valve in your toilet that tells the toilet tank when to refill with water.
- Turn off waterfalls and other water features when they’re not in use. If the pool is closed or it’s late at night, you might not need those features running. Waterfalls and fountains naturally create a lot of water surface area, which increases evaporation — so even a few hours not running can save the amount of water you lose from evaporation.
Create shade around the pool. Sun shades and pergolas can decrease the pool’s temperature, which can significantly decrease evaporation, especially during the hot days of summer. The good news is that adding shade is also valuable for residents and the aesthetics of the property.