This article is based on an interview with Morgan McCauley, operations manager for Reno Green, which has the landscaping contract for Somersett and Sierra Canyon common areas. Click here to see an infographic.

Why water at night?

In Somersett’s hot, low-humidity summer climate, it is most efficient to water turf at night because there is less water lost to evaporation when the sun isn’t shining. Even factoring in water misdirected by the extra wind we often experience in the evenings, it is still more efficient to water at night.

In more humid climates it is better to water in the morning to avoid fungus, but fungus isn’t an issue here because of the wind and lack of humidity. We have been treating recently for chinch bugs which cause the turf to turn brown in spots and could be mistaken for fungus damage.

Another reason we water at night is to avoid spraying residents who are out walking and biking along community sidewalks and pathways during the day.

What time do the sprinklers go on?

Anywhere from 7:30 pm to 5:30 am. The watering window is so large because there are so many zones. In order to maintain adequate water pressure, the zones must be staggered.

Why don’t you turn the system off during periods of rain?

The water for the Somersett common area landscaping is fed by 75 individual points of connection (places where the water comes into the system). There are 95 multi-station irrigation time clocks and over 100 battery-operated timers and there is no central control system. This means that to turn off the irrigation system technicians have to turn off each of the 75 individual points of connection or each of the 195 time clocks. This is extremely time-consuming. (Please note: These numbers are just for the SOA common areas and do not include Sierra Canyon common areas or the Canyon Nine).

Why do I sometimes see sprinklers on during the day?

The most likely reason is that we are conducting a test. It’s also possible an area is receiving extra irrigation after a recent application of fertilizer.

Biggest challenges for watering turf in Somersett?

The wind, arid climate and heat.

Homeowners must follow TMWA guidelines on watering. What about the community?

We have to follow the guidelines as well in the common areas. We water half of the community on odd days and the other half on even days.

What maintenance do you perform on the sprinklers?

We raise the heads when needed for efficiency and replace nozzles as they wear out or are damaged.

If you see something, say something!

If you notice a leak in the system or a sprinkler that is not functioning properly in a Somersett common area, please report it to the SOA by emailing If the problem is in a Sierra Canyon common area, notify Aspen Lodge at Include as much information about the location as possible (cross streets, which side of the street or median, etc.) and take photos if you can. Be sure to include at least one photo that is panoramic to help us reference the location.

Another condition to report is if you notice a large area of turf that is turning brown. This could indicate an irrigation break.

Although technicians monitor the common areas, it is impossible in a community as large as Somersett to be everywhere at once. An early alert from a resident allows us to fix a problem sooner, saving the association money in wasted water!

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