Save Water, Save Money Outside
You can have a beautiful lawn that is a joy for your family and the envy of your neighbors — and still leave water in the Ipswich River for the fish, birds, and other animals that need it! Typically, outdoor water use accounts for up to 50 percent of water consumed by households. You can reduce your outdoor water consumption by taking a few simple steps. So tighten those taps, eliminate those leaks and use water wisely.
Tip #1 – Water Your Lawn Wisely or Not at All.
Summer lawn watering is the #1 reason that the Ipswich River is in danger! And in the summer, 80% of the water we put on the grass evaporates or runs off without doing any good at all.
The most river-friendly way to water yard is not to water it all in the summer.It’s normal for grass to go yellow and dormant in the hot summer months. It isn’t dead, it’s just hibernating!
Your lawn will come back and green up in the fall. If you need a green summer lawn, try watering in the early morning before the heat of the day. You’ll waste less, and your lawn will benefit more. It’s a win-win!
Tip #2 – Keep your grass at least 3″ tall.
Just a few little inches can make a big difference for the Ipswich River! Tall grass is green grass in both senses of the word. Tall grass develops a stronger root system and needs less water to stay healthy.
For good measure, tall grass shades out weed seedlings, which means you don’t have to use as much pesticide. One way to have taller grass is to mow less often, but if you like the well trimmed look, you can do that, too — just raise the height of your lawnmower blades.
Tip #3 – Reduce the size of your lawn.
Speaking of grass, why not replace some of it with native shrubs, vines, and flowers? Choose outdoor landscaping appropriate for your climate. Native plants and grasses that thrive on natural rainfall are also more resistant to local plant diseases. Native plant landscaping is beautiful, sophisticated, and adds value to your home. They also provide habitat for wildlife and don’t require nearly as much water, chemicals, or time — all because they belong here. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard. For more information on locating a native landscape designer, visit the Ecological Landscaping Association.
Visit Massachusetts Greenscapes for many tips on how to use less water and chemicals and maintain your beautiful landscape.
Tip #4 – Leaky Faucets
Upgrade your irrigation system. If you have an older irrigation system, over 50 percent and even more than 75 percent of the water can be lost to leaks.
Do a full leak check on your house four times a year. Just seeing it will remind you that conservation pays and preserves precious water. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings. Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they’re not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free.
Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks. If a drip fills an eight-ounce glass every quarter hour, it will lose about 180 gallons per month. That’s 2,160 gallons a year, enough for 30+ showers or baths! Drips can usually be fixed by replacing inexpensive washers or valve seats.
If you have a pool, do regular leak checks-ups. A leak in the pool area can waste 1,000 gallons or more per day. Pay particular attention to your automatic water filler. If it’s faulty, your water bill suffers. Keep track of the amount of chemicals you normally use. An increase in quantity used can also be a sign of a leak. Use a pool/spa cover to cut down on water loss (and heating costs) caused by evaporation.
Tip #5 Outdoor Cleaning
Typically, outdoor water use accounts for up to 50 percent of water consumed by households. A garden hose without a shutoff nozzle can pour out 530 gallons of water in an hour. When washing your car, use a pistol-grip nozzle, one that shuts off when you let go of it. You will reduce your water use per car wash from 200 gallons down to 20 gallons if you don’t let the water run.
Don’t run the hose while washing your car. Clean your car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing – this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water. Better yet, use a waterless car washing system; there are several brands, such as EcoTouch, which are now on the market.
Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
Monitor children’s water play.
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