Parched (An Allegory)

irrigation-2402568_640I’ve got to do some work on my sprinkler system. Out here in West Texas, we don’t get a lot of rain. In fact, it can go months without any precipitation and, with summer temperatures over 100 degrees, the landscape starts to get a bit crispy. Many plants have either evolved or been bred to withstand the lack of moisture, but even the hardiest, need watering once in a while.

I am by no means an irrigation expert. It would make my life a lot easier if things would magically take care of themselves, but that’s not how these things work. I have to be intentional about maintaining my yard and flower beds if I expect them to thrive. In looking over my system, I’ve identified three distinct issues that need to be addressed.

To start with, it looks like I have some sprinkler heads that aren’t even pointing in the right direction. As I walked out the mailbox the other evening, my system kicked on and I noticed that two spray nozzles had twisted around so that they were spraying water on the street rather than on my grass. They pop up perfectly, right on cue. The spray is strong and covers a large area. However, the focus of the attention is not where it needs to be. There’s a lot of resources being wasted here because unless the water is pointed in the right direction, the grass won’t grow.

A few other sprinkler heads don’t seem to have the necessary range. They are pointed in the right direction, but only the area right around the nozzle gets any water. At the Source, everything is green and looks great, but move just a few feet out and the grass is yellowed. Because these spots aren’t getting any water, that part of the yard is in obvious distress. To work properly, each sprinkler head needs to cover every part of the ground it’s designed to cover.

In some of my flower beds, there are micro-sprinkler heads. These are designed to deliver water right at the root, so that it sinks deep and gets absorbed by the plant rather than evaporating in the heat. Yet, when I pulled back the wilting leaves to check on the sprinklers, I found that some of them aren’t delivering any water at all. Several had gotten clogged with dirt and debris. The flow of water was being blocked by foreign bodies. Others were twisted shut. They were in the perfect spot to deliver what the plants need, but the flow had been completely shut off. In both cases, these sources of precious water has been rendered useless.

Thankfully, these problems are easily rectified. It will take some work on my part, and I’ll have to monitor the system to ensure that it functions properly going forward. I can’t assume that because I address an issue once that everything will work out fine. In order for me to have a healthy and beautiful landscape, I have to be willing to focus some time and energy on the systems that help it grow.

We got some rain yesterday. The afternoon sky clouded over and a steady rain, the first we’ve had in over two months, soaked into the ground. There’s cooler weather and possibly even more rain in the forecast for this week; but I’ve still got to address my irrigation system. Harsh weather will return, and it’s up to me to ensure my yard gets what it needs.