Redefining a Day

In anticipation of the watering restrictions scheduled to begin on April 1st in Midland and several surrounding communities, I reprogrammed my sprinkler system control box on Saturday, determined to get a jump on things rather than wait until the last minute. 

Our home address ends in an odd number, meaning that we’ll be allowed to water our lawn on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I carefully updated the settings on the two programs (one for the lawn and another for the flowerbeds) to ensure that they would take place on the proper days. The lawn program would begin at 4:00 a.m. on those designated days, and the beds would be watered beginning at 7:00 a.m. I carefully selected those times to avoid both the heat of the day and potential conflicts with indoor water use.
I was feeling smug at my far-sighted preparation, until I read this (emphasis mine) and learned that I was setting myself up to be a lawbreaker. Here’s the important part:
Watering also is being restricted to between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. on each assigned day. An individual’s designated day starts at 6 p.m. and carries into the following morning, meaning the yard of an odd numbered home could be irrigated between 6 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. on Thursday. Even numbered homes, in turn, could use outdoor water between 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Purvis said.
I’m trying to understand the logic behind defining a day as starting at 6:00 p.m. Seems like an unnecessary complication to me, in effect saying “you can water only on Wednesday, unless you want to do it on Thursday.”
What am I missing here? What’s wrong with an actual “midnight to midnight” definition of a day? Or is this simply another example of the apparently irresistible need of government to complicate things?


  1. Holy Cow! Who’d a thunk we’d be scofflaws if not for the Fire Ant Gazette? The press release posted by the City of Odessa makes no mention of this bizarre detail so I’m guessing 99.9% of the 17% of the people reprogramming their sprinkler systems will be watering on the wrong day. And of those, 93.4% of us will eventually have to call a commercial entity to re-program our systems after we have them programmed them such that the sprinklers come on random times of the day and night only on the Tuesdays following a new moon.

  2. Well, I wonder if Odessa is using a more common sense approach in its definition of a day?
    You’re right about the daunting task of reprogramming the sprinkler control box. I’d rather deal with a VCR. Mine has the capability of three different programs each day with multiple on/off times for each program. I’m surprised everything in our yard isn’t either drowned or completely desiccated.

  3. There are no definitions in the OA article or in the City of Odessa’s press release (pdf). But, according to the MRT article you link to, it’s a “region-wide” plan adopted by the cities so I suppose the definition of a day is uniform for the region. I’m guessing the guy responsible for Redefining a Day is a fun guy at parties.

  4. Boy, I’d assume that Odessa’s day is a 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. interval, based on that PDF. There would be no reason to explain why a day is no longer a day if your day was remaining a day.
    I’m planning to apply for the Redefining a Day position at some point, by the way.

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