If you live in Texas or have visited the Lone Star state, you know the summer heat is no joke. Temperatures rise along with our need for water, whether it be for consumption, hygiene, or just for fun activities to keep us from burning up outside! Of the water that is used outdoors, between 80 and 90 percent is dedicated to maintaining lawns, gardens, and plants. Here are some ways your family can conserve water and save money this summer: (Source: TWDB)
- Water your lawn in the early morning or late in the evening. As much as 30 percent of the water applied to a landscape can be lost to evaporation by watering during the heat of the day. Some towns and cities limit days and times for landscape irrigation as part of their drought contingency plans. Be sure to comply with any watering restrictions your town or community may have in place this summer.
- Know your sprinkler system. Make sure your sprinkler heads are working properly and not broken, clogged or missing a head. If water pools appear in your landscape, you could have a leak in your system. A leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. (Source: Water Sense) Drip irrigation is a highly efficient way to water lawns, gardens, and plants when applicable. Studies show that well-designed drip systems use at least 30 percent, and in some cases 50 percent, less water than other methods of watering such as sprinkling. (Source: Rodale's Organic Life)
- Look at your lawn. If turf grass blades begin to curl or if you see footprints in the turf after walking across it (blades do not spring back up), then it is time to water. Most Bermuda grass lawns in the Texas High Plains will grow well with an application of one inch of water per week.
- Set your lawn mower one notch higher. Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches to make your lawn more water-efficient. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
- Use fertilizer sparingly. Fertilizer promotes plant growth and also increases water consumption. Try to apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed to your turf. (Source: Water - Use It Wisely)
- Don't overfill your pool. Reducing water levels in pools can help reduce water losses due to splashing. Consider joining a community pool or using a City Pool before building or purchasing your own.
- Consider using porous pavement. Using gravel or other types of porous pavement, instead of asphalt, for driveways and walkways will help rain soak into the soil. Hard surfaces can cause water to run off, contributing to erosion. (Source: American Water)
- Wash your pets outdoors. Find a spot in your yard that needs extra water and bathe your pet in that area. If you are cleaning out a fish tank, take that nutrient-rich water and use it for your non-edible plants.