Conservation in the yard and garden...
Water your lawn only when it needs it.
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3") will promote water retention in the soil. Install rain gauge sensors on irrigation systems to avoid watering in the rain.
Deep-soak your lawn.
When watering the lawn, water long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will be the most beneficial. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn - when it's full, you've watered about the right amount.
Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it's windy.
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it's windy - wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.
Use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns.
You can greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds and lawns with strategic placement of soaker hoses, rain barrel catchment systems and simple drip-irrigation systems. A watering meter can be easily added to your hose, and lawn sprinkler timers can be used to set water usage to required needs.
Plant drought-resistant shrubs and plants.
Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard.
Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants.
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth.
Don't water the gutter.
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas.
Also, avoid watering on windy days.
Don't run the hose while washing your car.
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing.
Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings.
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they're not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.
Your conservation efforts truly have an impact on your water bill, your taxes, and the environment.
· Less water withdrawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers aids in keeping those water bodies healthy;
· Less energy required to pump and treat water, and therefore less greenhouse emissions;
· Less wastewater that requires collection, treatment and disposal; and
· Less pollution from treated wastewater in our streams, water ways and eventually into our aquifers.