Tips can help save water this spring
It’s spring, and outdoor water use is on the rise. While it’s important to be water conscious throughout the year, the spring and summer require increased attention to irrigation schedules and outdoor water use.
Experts estimate that 50 percent of the water used outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind or runoff due to overwatering.
In many areas, the amount of water multifamily and commercial properties use to sustain lush landscaping spikes in the summer – sometimes two to four times as much as the rest of the year. While buying a timer for an irrigation system seems an obvious solution, more times than not the system is installed with set times and never seasonally adjusted; leading to unnecessary water waste during the cooler months.
Water conservation firm WaterSignal complied the following tips to help keep water use under control:
Timing is everything
Know how much water your landscape actually needs before you set your sprinkler. Local utilities can offer recommendations for how much water certain plants need in your region and best times to water. Generally, it’s best to water lawns and landscapes in the early morning and evening, after the sun goes down, because significant amounts of water can be lost due to evaporation during the heat of the day.
Tune up your system
Inspect irrigation systems and check for leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads.
Fix sprinkler heads that are broken or spraying on the sidewalk, street, or driveway.
Just one broken sprinkler head can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water over a six-month irrigation season.
Separate plants into zones
When planting, assign areas of the landscape different hydro-zones depending on sun/shade exposure, soil and plant types, and type of sprinklers, then adjust the irrigation system or watering schedule based on those zones’ specific needs. This helps avoid overwatering some areas or under-watering others.
Even if the property doesn’t have a sprinkler system, there are a number of simple steps to promote a healthier lawn and garden with less water this summer:
Step on it: Grass doesn’t always need water just because it’s hot out. Step on the lawn, and if the grass springs back, it doesn’t need water. An inexpensive soil moisture sensor can also show the amount of moisture at the plant’s roots and discourage overwatering.
Leave it long: Raise the lawn mower blade. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth, resulting in a more drought-resistant lawn, reduced evaporation and fewer weeds.
Give the hose a break: Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them off. And don’t forget to check for leaks at the spigot connection and tighten as necessary.