Save Water 49 Ways: Outdoor

Saving Water
Outdoors

  1. Don't over water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks. Plant it smart, Xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plantings and irrigation system that will save you time, money and water. For your free copy of "Plant it Smart," an easy-to-use guide to Xeriscape landscaping, contact your Water Management District.
  2. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
  3. Don't water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs ... not the paved areas.
  4. Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water-efficient methods of irrigation.
  5. Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly. It is now the law that "anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information.
  6. Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
  7. Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
  8. Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with plants for water.
  9. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering. Group plans together based on similar water needs.
  10. Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
  11. Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, "Turn it Off" at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
  12. Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
  13. Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
  14. Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
  15. Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.
  16. Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are mineral losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
  17. If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from l80 to 250 gallons or more of water.

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