In some areas of the United States, it is time to turn home irrigation systems back on.
Climate change has led to drought conditions in parts of the southwestern United States, including areas of California. A recent study revealed water use in California increased by 30% in March 2022 when compared to March 2019. The situation has gotten to the point that in one area, responsible water use can even help prevent a significant fine from wasting water.
Whether it is washing vehicles in the driveway or landscaping, the most residential water use is outdoors.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers some tips to conserve water outdoors:
- Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn't sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don't water walkways and buildings.
- Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
- Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
- Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
- When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let Mother Nature wash your car when it rains).
- Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.