Water consumption spikes up more than 40% in the summertime, to peaks of 1 million gallons per day. That translates to an extra 300,000 gallons daily as people enjoy the sunshine, water their lawns, and wash their cars. Lawns need only one inch of water each week to stay healthy and green. More than that is a waste of pure drinking water. Below are other tips to conserve water outside of your home.
- Plant water-saving plants, trees, and shrubs, particularly native species. Mulch can also be used to retain water. Replace lawn with plants or bark. (Saves 750 to 1500 gallons per month)
- Let your grass grow to a length of 2 to 3 inches. Longer blades encourage deeper rooting, provide better shade for the roots and allow for more water retention. Do not remove more than one-third of the leaf blade in one mowing. Leave mulch clippings on your lawn to help keep the soil cool and retain moisture. (Saves 500 to 1500 gallons per month).
- The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often - much of the water is never absorbed. Instead of watering for one long session, water a few times for shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks in between each session. This will allow water to soak in while minimizing runoff.
- Water between 5 am and 10 am when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Midday watering tends to be less efficient because of water loss due to evaporation and windy conditions during the day. Watering in the evening is not a good idea because leaves can remain wet overnight, an open invitation for fungus to grow.
- Drive your car onto the lawn before washing it so rinse water can help water the grass.
- Water only things that grow. If you have an underground sprinkler system, make sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. The same thing goes for regular sprinklers. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fine mist to minimize evaporation and wind drift.
- Adjust your irrigation system as the season and weather change. Or better yet, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain or moisture. These devices are inexpensive and enable you to take advantage of the water without having to pay for it.