July 23rd, 2012

8 Tips to Save Water This Summer

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Groovy Green Livin water summer

This is a guest post from the Environmental Protection Agency. With temperatures soaring across the country, it’s expected that Americans will up their usage of water to about 1000-3000 gallons a day over the next few weeks.

Here in the U.S. we are in the midst of the worst drought since the 1950’s. This summer’s heat wave is expected to result in a serious spike in the amount of water being used outdoors this year. Late July and early August are usually when outdoor water use soars in most of the U.S., but some regions report overwatering well into the fall. And if steps aren’t taken to make water use more efficient, communities will face major challenges managing droughts and depletion of freshwater resources.

The EPA has published these facts about summertime overwatering, and the top 8 tips to save water this summer.

Three Facts about Summertime Overwatering

  • Depending on the region, homeowners use between 30 and 70 percent of their water outdoors.
  • Experts estimate that 50 percent of the water we use outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering.
  • The average American home uses about 260 gallons of water per day. During the hotter months, homes can use about 1,000 gallons of water a day. Some use as much as 3,000 gallons per day, or the equivalent of leaving a garden hose running for nearly eight hours!

Top 8 Tips for Saving Water Outdoors

1. Timing is everything: Know how much water your landscape actually needs before you set your sprinkler. Your local utility or garden center can recommend how much water certain plants need in your region and best times to water. It’s best to water lawns and landscapes in the early morning and late evening because large amounts of water can be lost due to evaporation during the heat of the day.

2. Look for the label: If your irrigation system uses a clock timer, consider upgrading to a WaterSense labeled controller. WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers act like a thermostat for your lawn, using local weather data to determine when and how much to water, which reduces waste and improves plant health! Learn more at www.epa.gov/watersense/products/controltech.html

3. Go with a pro: Contractors certified through a WaterSense labeled program can audit, install, or maintain home irrigation systems to ensure water isn’t wasted. Make sure you ask for credentials.

4. 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.

5. Play zone defense: When planting, assign areas of your landscape to different hydrozones depending on sun/shade exposure, soil and plant types, and type of sprinklers, then adjust your irrigation system or watering schedule based on those zones’ specific needs. This helps you avoid overwatering some areas or underwatering others.

Even if your home doesn’t have a sprinkler/irrigation system, there are a number of simple steps you can take to promote a healthier lawn and garden with less water this summer:

6. 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.

7. Leave it long: Raise your lawn mower blade. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth, resulting in a more drought-resistant lawn, reduced evaporation, and fewer weeds.

8. Give your hose a break: Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off. And don’t forget to check for leaks at your spigot connection and tighten as necessary.

For more tips on reducing outdoor water use, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor

How do you save water during the hot summer months?


[Photo used under Creative Commons from Pink Sherbert Photography/Flickr]


13 Responses to “8 Tips to Save Water This Summer”

  1. Great ways to save. Also a sistern or rain barrel can help- collect water and save for watering flowers, grass, etc.

  2. Great ways! I love the picture you chose with the little toes! Cute! Stay cool!

  3. Thanks for the additional suggestions Deirdre! I’ve always wanted to have a rain barrel-on my list!

  4. Thanks Stephanie!

  5. […] Raise awareness, spread the word and use water conservatively. […]

  6. […] WaterSense program put together an Infographic on how to save water at home. As we all know, outdoor water use spikes in the hot weather–this infographic illustrates that during the summer, a family can use up to 3,000 gallons of […]

  7. […] WaterSense program put together an Infographic on how to save water at home. As we all know, outdoor water use spikes in the hot weather–this infographic illustrates that during the summer, a family can use up to 3,000 gallons of […]

  8. […] from Groovy Green Livin reminds us that we consume tons of water in our yards. She shares 8 tips on how to conserve water usage outside, there are some great tips I did not know on her list so do not skip […]

  9. Hi, I want to add tips for saving water just like this: We are not to be mistaken to wash the car or motorbike because the water is used for washing. However, if too frequent for washing can also waste the water. If we need to wash the car or motorbike, use a bucket of water and then, sponge or damp cloth to rub them.
    Global For Life recently posted..Green Up Your Yard With Your Going Green IdeasMy Profile

  10. I hadn’t thought of adjusting my irrigation system based on the different needs of my landscape. However, that sounds like something I should really consider doing. Some parts of my lawn grow way faster than the others, so adjusting the sprinklers to not water those areas as much would probably be beneficial. Thanks for the suggestions!

  11. These are some great tips, I usually haven’t been concerned, but after a leak in my sprinkler line I started paying attention to how much water I was using. I hadn’t heard of the Watersense irrigation controllers. Do they get on your WiFi to get the weather reports?
    Michael recently posted..Trump your Stump: 5 Ways to Defeat Stubborn Tree StumpsMy Profile

  12. I really enjoyed the post and got some great tips on saving water. Thanks for the share! I’m getting me a rain barrel!!
    James Dutreaux recently posted..What’s The Best Future Beach Kayak For You?My Profile

  13. Great way to save water,
    Thanks for your research on these subject.

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