During the summer, it can be easy for your water bill to climb along with the temperatures. Long cold showers, extra rounds of laundry, and of course, increased outdoor water use to cool off with water games and to keep your lawn a healthy green all summer long. Conserving water throughout the summer is not only good for your wallet, but the environment as well. Here are some tips for cutting back on outdoor water use this summer.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. Setting up an automatic schedule for your sprinkling system may be convenient, but it promotes water waste by watering rain or shine. Switch off the autopilot mode and run your system manually, holding off in the event of a major rainfall.
- Make sure your sprinkler setup is well-designed. A poorly-designed sprinkler system directs water where it isn’t needed—for example, in the gutters or on the driveway—and misses other crucial areas entirely. This just wastes water and deprives your lawn of the irrigation it needs to thrive. Consider replacing your system if this is the case.
- Water at appropriate times. Watering earlier in the day (ideally first thing in the morning) helps prevent fungus growth, slugs, and other garden pests. Watering before the sun rises too high will also help minimize evaporation. Try to avoid watering when it’s windy, as wind can cause water waste by blowing it off course.
- Deep soak when you water. It may seem counterintuitive, but watering your lawn more intensively when you do water it is more effective at preventing waste. A light sprinkling is apt to evaporate before it can be absorbed, while a deep soak will get down to the roots where it can do the most good.
- Avoid overwatering. While you should always deep soak when you water, you also want to avoid overwatering your plants. Dousing grass and gardens with too much water can actually harm plant health and cause discoloration.
- Don’t run a hose to wash your car. Fill a pail with water and soap and wash your car with a sponge. If necessary, turn on the hose only at the end to give the vehicle a good rinse. Leaving your hose on throughout the process can waste as much as 150 gallons of water.
- Put mulch around the beds of trees and plants. Mulch slows the process of evaporation and helps the soil retain its moisture. Bonus: it also discourages the growth of weeds.
- Check for leaks. Throughout the season, periodically inspect hoses, pipes, and outdoor faucets for signs of leaks that may be causing a slow and steady depletion of your water supply.