Water is one of our most valuable resources. There are several ways homeowners can conserve water so that there is more for everyone. Some of the consumption areas where people can conserve water are:
Around the House
When you wash your clothes, adjust the water level to match the amount of clothes you are washing. If you only have a few items, turn the knob to "small" load or consider waiting until there are more dirty clothes to wash. This will also save your water heater from using more electricity to heat more water.
Consider installing toilets that have smaller holding capacities. That way flushes use less water.
Shutting off the faucet while you brush your teeth can also conserve water.
In the Yard
During the summer months, one of the largest drains on our water system is caused by homeowners watering lawns. There are several steps you can take to conserve water and still have a healthy yard.
First, water during the very early morning or evenings. If you have a timer on a irrigation system, you can even set it to water the lawn at night. During the heat of midday, evaporation occurs at very high rates. Watering during the afternoon really isn't an efficient use of the water.
Also, instead of watering every day for small periods of time, soak your lawn once or twice a week. This will force the grass roots to grow deeper to find water. It also allows for longer periods between watering. By watering several times a week for short periods, roots are concentrated at the surface increasing their susceptibility to drought and disease.
It is best not to water when windy conditions are present for two reasons. One, you have more control over the placement of water when the wind is not blowing it around. And two, evaporation due to wind reduces the efficiency of the watering.
Let Soil Guide You
Water only when your grass needs it, not because you're on a schedule or because the irrigation system is set to run automatically. Conserving water means only using water the grass needs to survive. To determine when to water your lawn, examine the soil not the plant.
If the soil surface appears dry, check deeper in the soil. If moisture appears at a depth of six inches, wait a few days to water. If water is not present in the top six inches, watering is necessary.
The texture of the soil can also guide your watering. Sandy soils drain much faster than clayey soils. Consider adding organic matter to sandy soils to hold water better. Clayey soils hold water better, but also make it difficult for roots to take up water. Adding organic matter to clayey soils breaks up the tight pores making water available for uptake.
During the summer months, cool season grasses go dormant to adapt to the high temperatures and drought conditions. Conserve water by letting nature take it's course. Not watering your lawn at all conserves the most water. In the fall, the lawn will perk back up when the water is available and the temperatures cool off.