Why Water Conservation is important
- Water is a finite resource – even though about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, less than 1 percent is available for human use.
- On average a residential home in Columbia uses 3,740 gallons a month of water.
- Toilets account for approximately 25% of indoor water use.
- Energy efficient water use has also spiked since 1999. This is because of energy efficient appliances (e.g. toilets, washer and dryers, dishwashers, and shower heads.)
Outside water usage for an average consumer in the City of Columbia is around 30% of total water usage. Columbia Water & Light wants to make sure that you know the proper ways to water your landscape to help you save money and conserve water.
Whether you are watering your garden or laying new grass it is important to think about how to use water efficiently. Here are some tips that we think you need to know about how to get the most out of your water and landscape.
Outside water tips
Up to 60% of all water use in the summer is outdoors on landscaping. However, one of the most common problems with landscaping is over watering! By using the water conservation techniques outlined on this page, you might be surprised by a better looking yard and lower water bills. You will also be helping the community by ensuring the availability of water during peak pumping periods. Most importantly, you are saving water for future generations.
- Watering thoroughly, but infrequently, develops a deep root system so plants can use moisture and nutrients deep in the ground
- Water according to moisture in the soil; not a fixed schedule
- Lawns are dry when footprints remain in the grass long after being made
- Lawns need only one inch of water per week; approximately three times a week for 20 minutes
- Use a tuna can or a rain gauge to accurately measure the amount of water your irrigation system delivers
- Set a timer as a reminder to turn off the sprinkler
- Water in the early morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., avoiding windy conditions
- Don’t irrigate the pavement; choose and adjust sprinklers to fit the lawn area
- Mulch to retain moisture and prevent water-robbing weeds
- Mow grass to a height of 2 1/2″ with a sharp blade
- Never use a hose to rinse off pavement; sweep leaves and grass clippings
- Protect your water supply; make sure irrigation systems have back flow preventers
- TryXeriscaping: plant for water efficiency
- Consider rain barrels to capture water from a roof and hold it for later use. This reuse of rain water can be used for watering gardens or indoor plants. Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels also reduces the amount of water that flows from your property in to storm water sewers. Using rain barrels is a great way to protect the environment, it’s free water for use in your landscape and it helps extend the useful like of existing infrastructure.
- Know how much water your plants need and when to water them to help conserve water.
- Use regionally appropriate, low water-using and native plants.
- Avoid watering in the middle of the day when the hot sun will evaporate much of the water before it can get too thirsty plants.
- Lawns only need up to one inch of water a week, including rainfall.
- Shrubs, trees, and other perennials generally will need even less because of their deeper root structure.
- Set your irrigation system correctly to avoid water waste
- Water is wasted by poorly designed and neglected sprinkler systems that spray sidewalks, driveways, and the street.
- Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system to account for the type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and type of plants and soil in the specific area.
- The same watering schedule rarely applies to all zones in the system.
- Install a microirrigation system for gardens, trees, and shrubs.
- Microirrigation applies water slowly and directly to the plants’ roots to minimize evaporation, runoff, and loss to the wind.
WaterSense can provide you with more tips and tricks to help you conserve water Outside.