Your Biggest Water Drain is Outside

Last week’s blog post addressed a great way to reduce water use inside your home.  Outside, however, irrigation systems and watering your lawn create a huge spike in our water consumption, especially in the summer.

During our hot, sunny summers, our grass starts to brown and dry out, and according to the EPA, the average family’s daily water use increases up to 1,000 gallons, more than three times the average use throughout the rest of the year. That’s equivalent to increasing your time in the daily shower by over 6.5 hours!

There are many ways to increase the efficiency of your outdoor irrigation. In fact, up to 50% of the water used outside is wasted.  This is partly because of overwatering, so before you water your lawn, make sure it needs it first.  Step on your grass and see if it springs back up. If it does, your lawn doesn’t need water.  When your lawn does need to be watered, do so early the day to reduce losing that water to evaporation.   Similarly, make sure you water the lawn enough for the moisture to soak down into the soil.  A light sprinkle evaporates quickly and encourages shallow, weak root systems, which no one wants. In fact, long grass increases your lawn’s drought and weed resistance.

You may think automatic irrigation systems use water efficiently, but according to the EPA, “homes with automatic irrigation systems can use about 50% more water outdoors.” If you choose to install an irrigation system, pick a contractor who’s certified through a WaterSense program to audit, install, and maintain your irrigation system to use water outdoors as efficiently as possible.

Although summer’s ending, think about these things before picking up your hose or turning on that sprinkler.  Saving water reduces your environmental impact, not mention reduces your monthly utilities.  What have you done to use your water outside more efficiently?