Water is the element that sustains life on earth. All living things on earth need water to stay alive. Clean sources of water are a valuable commodity and we are grateful to have a good source of water to supply our needs. However, we should consider how we use the water we have. Are we careful to use water only when needed or do we let the water run down the sink drain for no good reason?
The area in which we live is a dry desert. We receive less than 10 inches of precipitation annually. A lawn and landscape requires a lot of maintenance and the most important part of that care is properly watering the lawn. The first few warm days of summer does not automatically mean that it is time to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to undergo mild drought stress actually increases rooting. Watch for foot printing, or footprints remaining on the lawn after walking across it (instead of leaf blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress. Proper watering of lawns and landscapes can improve the quality of your lawns and in the process save you money by conserving water use.
Remember that conservation of water begins with you. If you have other water conservation ideas not on the list, please contact our office. We would be glad to include them in our list.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
- Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
- Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.
- Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
- Use the sprinkler for larger areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
- Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
- While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
- Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
- Don't water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don't need water.
- Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
- Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don't water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.
- Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.
- Place an empty tuna can on your lawn to catch and measure the water output of your sprinklers. For lawn watering advice, contact your local conservation office.
- Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives. Your lawn only needs one to one and a half inches (1"-1 ½") of water per week.
- Water your lawn once every three days.
- Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.
- Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
- When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
- When watering grass on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff. 22. Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.
- Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
- Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and ground cover with rock and granite mulching
- Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.
- If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to a flowerbed, tree, or your lawn.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
- Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering at the roots is very effective. Be careful not to over water.
- More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
- Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
- Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.
- Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
- Landscape with Xeriscape trees, plants and groundcovers. Call your local conservation office for more information about these water thrifty plants.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
- Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
- Install covers on pool and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
- We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
- Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good shape.
- Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
- Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
- Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
- When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
- When you clean your fish tank, use the water you've drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a houseplant instead.
- For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.