In my 10-plus years living in Lubbock it seems like there is an annual ritual of sorts; a rite of passage one must go through if you're going to drive in Lubbock during the winter.

That's right, you guessed it.  The "Annual Dodging of Patches of (Black) Ice on Lubbock Streets Because of Sprinkler Runoff".

I've never understood why in an area of the country that values its water so much, why residents & businesses water their landscaping so much.  Especially in the fall and winter.  It's a waste of water.  I'm not a horticulturist-- sometimes I might play one on the radio-- but you would think most people would understand that once temperatures drop below 50, there's little to no need to water the grass.

Our friends over at KAMC 28 have the unfortunate story of a Texas Tech student who got into an accident earlier this week because of sprinkler runoff from a Lubbock apartment complex.

The current City of Lubbock ordinances for watering were amended in 2004 to include some "common sense" restrictions.

A few of those were:

  • Landscape irrigation may occur only between the hours of 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 a.m. from April 1 - September 30.
  • Landscape irrigation is restricted to two (2) days per week. The City Manager, or his/her designee may, after notice to the citizens of the City of Lubbock, designate irrigation schedules.
  • Irrigation should provide a maximum of 1.5 inches per zone per week.
  • Winter irrigation may only occur when temperatures are above 35°F so as not to cause a freezing hazard and should provide a maximum of 1.0 inch per zone per month for dormant grasses (i.e., Bermuda) and 1.0 inch per zone every two weeks for cool season grasses (i.e., Fescue).
  • Irrigation should occur without significant water runoff, which can be accomplished by correctly cycling the sprinkler system and allowing time for the water to soak into the landscape between irrigation events.

Now, wouldn't you think that most residents and businesses could follow these simple guidelines?

Apparently not, because during every winter Lubbock streets become an artificial ice rink.

The City of Lubbock Water Department does have a Water Wasting Hotline in which you can report violations;  775-3952.  And if you do own property with a sprinkler system, help out your neighbor and turn it off during the winter.