Saving Water Outdoors

May 30, 2014

Water is a precious, life-giving resource. It’s also finite. The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day. Outdoor usage accounts for 30 percent of the water we use around the houseā€”or more. In fact, the amount of outdoor water used by a household can exceed the amount used for all other purposes. This is especially true in the summer and for hot, dry climates, where percentage of water used for outdoor purposes can rise to 60 percent. What can you do to minimize your outdoor water usage?

  • Choose plants that use less water. Native and low-water-using plants, once they’re established, require little water beyond normal rainfall.
  • Group vegetation with similar water needs together so you can water them at the same time. Use drip and soaker hoses in the flower and vegetable gardens.
  • Keep your soils healthy. Healthy soils cycle nutrients, minimize runoff, keep water, and absorb sediments and pollutants.
  • Water wisely. A lot of water conservation can be accomplished in this way. Use a watering can to water small areas or potted plans. Watering with a hose can waste water.
  • Know your plants’ watering needs and don’t water during the heat of the day, where a lot of water can be lost to evaporation.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make adjustments regularly to make sure things get watered efficiently.
  • See that your sprinklers don’t waste water on sidewalks and driveways.
  • Check for leaky faucets and immediately fix the ones you find.
  • Wash your cars on the lawn or at a car wash that recycles water. If you wash your car at your house, don’t run the hose when you’re not actively washing. Shutting off the hose when it’s not in use can save a hundred gallons or more.
  • Direct rain gutters and other runoff toward shrubs and trees.
  • Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to help reduce evaporation, stop weed growth, and keep erosion from happening. Adding organic matter and aerating soil can improve its ability to hold water.
  • Adjusting your lawn mower to a higher setting will result in longer grass, which shades root systems and holds soil moisture better.
  • Cover your swimming pool when you’re not using it. This saves water and reduces heating costs.
  • When your pet needs a bath, bathe it outside in an area in need of water.

How many of these tips do you already use? As you conserve water, you can rest assured that there’s more of our most precious resource to go around.