It’s Not Just About Green Lawns: Wise Water Tips for Summer

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – May 25, 2012 – Comment

Summertime means a lot of different things to different people. But whether it’s a day at the beach, hiking in the mountains, barbequing in your yard, or playing a round of golf, it’s guaranteed that water will play a role in your summer fun.

As the weather gets warmer, you’re sure to see a slew of water conservation tips in the news and online, and we here at American Water feel it’s important as well. After all, when demand is high, it puts additional strain on water systems that can be difficult for water providers to manage. We all want to be sure there is enough water for everyone’s daily use as well as for adequate fire protection. That being said, let’s start off with some summer tips you might not expect:

  • Stay Hydrated
    • No matter what else you do this summer, make sure you drink the recommended amount of water each day. We work hard to deliver clean, quality water, and in order to take care of everything else that requires water, you need to take care of yourself first.
  • Invest in reusable bottles
    • Make the choice to invest in a bottle that you can constantly re-fill with water from the tap, which has a lower impact on the overall environment than purchasing bottled water, and is budget-friendly too. (Of course, if you do buy bottled beverages when you’re on the go, remember to recycle them.)

Now, for those of you whose idea of fun is having a good-looking landscape, here are some helpful pieces of information:

  • Don’t over-water
    • A good general rule for your lawn is 1 inch of water per week, and 1-2 inches per week for perennial plants and shrubs. For annuals, just follow the plant tag guide. If you’re not sure what to do, just keep the plant’s soil lightly moist, and keep in mind that over-watering is just as bad as under-watering.
  • Water in the morning
    • The cooler it is outside in the daylight, the more water can nourish the plant through the day and soak in before evaporating.
  • Let it go brown
    • It may not look great, but brown grass is not necessarily dead grass. Grass can go dormant (brown) in hot summer months, but will likely turn green again as the days get cooler.
  • Use native plants in your garden
    • As we discussed in a recent blog post, native plants require less water and care than those not found naturally in your local habitat.
  • The best summer pool tip
    • If you don’t have an infinity pool, filling yours to the brim is not going to make it one. If you keep the water level 6-8 inches below the top, you’ll decrease water loss from splashing.
  • Sweep the driveway
    • An inexpensive broom can clean your driveway or sidewalk as easily as a hose.
  • Bucket and sponge
    • Don’t use a running hose to wash your car. A bucket of recycled water (perhaps gathered from a rain barrel) and sponge for washing, along with a quick hose rinse should do the job.

Another tip is to consider purchasing or making a rain barrel. Keep in mind that for lawns, plants and vehicles, using rainwater is a safe and smart alternative to using drinking-quality water. American Water operates some facilities that to collect storm water and “grey” water, then treat it and use it where it makes the most sense. In projects like a series of residential buildings in Battery Park, we have implemented a water-recycling program that includes irrigating the buildings’ rooftop gardens. Your home system obviously won’t be as intricate as ours, but the goal is the same.

I hope you have a great summer, and that you follow at least some of these tips. When we can see the value in the water we have, we’ll be able to ensure it’s here for us next summer.