Sprinkler

So, how high is your summer water bill this year? A wild guess — the bills are higher than last year, right? This summer is brutally hot and the crop-frying temperatures are far from over. 

If high temperatures and dry weather haven’t already decimated your garden or lawn, you’re bound to face more high water bills for at least the next few months. Keep water bills in control by using a few of the following water-saving tactics.

1. Landscape appropriately: keep and maintain well-established plants. Older plants can adapt to less water. If you add new vegetation, purchase climate-appropriate seeds and native plant species. Native plants are already adapted to regional climate and soil, and are typically more disease and pest resistant.

2. Pick grass carefully: only plant grass in areas where it’s useful (play areas, etc.) Buy grass varieties that can survive during a drought.

3. Nix grass altogether: plant trees, other vegetation, a living lawn, or shrubs instead of grass. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency:

“Trees, shrubs, or other leafy plants help absorb, intercept and slow down rainfall, thereby reducing runoff. After a rainfall, large quantities of water are retained on the surface of leaves in the form of droplets. Subsequently, plants help control storm water runoff. Plants also absorb carbon dioxide (a principle greenhouse gas), and they help cool the earth’s surface; both functions help to reduce global warming.”

Also: less grass = less mowing, which cuts down on the use of other resources, such as gas, electricity, etc.

4. Water smart: water your lawn or garden with a hose rather than installing an irrigation system. The EPA reports that homeowners who water manually use almost 33 percent less water outside than homeowners who use automatic irrigation systems.

5. Soak it up: buy a soaker hose. The soaker hose allows water to slowly seep out of small holes, near plants’ roots. Keep water loss less by setting the soaker hose to a timer. Water in the morning or evening (the coolest times of day), and avoid over-watering your garden, producing excessive water runoff and evaporation.

6. Mulch: place mulch around plants to help keep moisture near plants’ roots.

7. Raise it up: plant a raised vegetable garden where plants are grown close together. The less area to water, the better (just make sure your plants’ roots have room to thrive.)

8. Reuse water: collect rainwater in rain barrels, cans, glasses, and containers. Also: save water you don’t drink, or would normally discard (think cooking water, shower water, etc.

Resources:

This Old House

Organic Gardening

Image: MelvinSchlubman