Waste Not, Want Not: Water Conservation Tips for Summer

stockvault-drainage-grate163030 - delicopsch56 (lo res)Did you know that as much as 50% of the water we use outdoors is WASTED due to inefficient watering systems and methods?

Summertime calls to mind childhood memories of countless pool parties, water balloon fights and endless runs through sprinklers. Now that we’re all grown up (for those of us who are), that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Thanks to our friends at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partnership program – WaterSense®, we’ve compiled a list of water usage tips that are easy to incorporate into your routine without dampening your dreams of days spent lounging poolside:

  • If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to have it inspected regularly to check for broken, clogged or missing sprinkler heads. Also check for potential leaks where hoses and pipes connect to the system. Monthly checks – either by you or by a professional – are encouraged.
  • Make certain that your sprinklers are watering your lawn, and not the driveway or sidewalks.
  • Schedule your watering to align with the season and weather (no need to water when it’s raining, right?). For instance, watering in the middle of the day in the summertime means much of the water will evaporate before it even has a chance to benefit thirsty flowers and plants. It may be wise to invest in a WaterSense-labeled irrigation controller – these utilize “smart” irrigation control technology that looks to local weather data to determine whether your sprinkler system needs to turn on. Cool, huh?
  • Timing is everything! A good rule of thumb is one inch of water per week in the summertime – which works best by soaking the lawn once a week in the early morning hours (whether by watering or by rain).* Watering too much or too frequently can drown out plants or result in shallow roots. Overwatering can also lead to weed growth, disease, fungus, and stormwater runoff that pollutes local waterways with fertilizers and pesticides.
  • For trees, shrubs and gardens, you may want to install a low-volume micro-irrigation system. These include drip (also known as trickle), micro-spray jets, micro-sprinklers, or bubbler irrigation. Micro-irrigation devices irrigate slowly in order to minimize evaporation and runoff.
  • Consider investing in a rain barrel or cistern to collect rainwater to use for watering your landscaping – or even washing your car – as the ultimate act of water conservation. Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources provides some excellent information about rain barrels – CLICK HERE!

Don’t forget! The Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010 allows landscape and lawn irrigation every day of the week beginning at 4:00pm and ending at 10:00am. Outdoor water usage other than irrigation of plants is to follow the odd/even watering schedule:

  • Even addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Odd addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays
  • No other outdoor water usage (beyond landscape and lawn irrigation between 4:00pm and 10:00am.) is permitted on Fridays

For even more great water conservation tips, be sure to visit the Water Conservation pages at the Gwinnett County Government website!

* According to Walter Reeves – Georgia Gardener

Image Credit:  delicopsch56/Stockvault