Fall is environmentalists’ and resource conservationists’ favorite time of year. The weather is cool enough to turn off the A/C and open the windows, but still warm enough that you don’t need to blast the heater. The end of scorching heat makes it perfect for leaving the car in the garage and biking or walking to work. Recent bumper crops mean it’s easier than ever to buy local produce. Unfortunately, water conservation often gets overlooked in the autumn eco-frenzy because it’s the heat of summer that typically makes people more conscientious about their water usage. Once temperatures begin to cool down, individuals worry less about drought and other water-related considerations.
In reality, due to reduced temperatures and increased rainfall, this season offers great opportunities to take your summer-water-conservation efforts one step further—and many of the ways to do this actually save you time and effort.
- Put the sprinklers away. Once the summer heat breaks, your lawn should need little-to-no watering.
- Water less from the can. Not only do plants require less water in the fall, but overwatering them can lead to disease. Fungus can also develop on plants and in grass that remain wet overnight.
- Continue to mulch, especially if you’re planting new flowers for the fall or winter.
- Pick the right plants! Some fall flowers don’t require a lot of water—many mums, for example, only need to be watered about three times a week. Also consider leaving your new fall flowers in their pots so you can water more efficiently.
- Watch the forecast. In many parts of the country, fall typically brings more rain than summer did, so keep an eye on the forecast and avoid watering if rain is on the way.
- Shower smartly. People typically get dirtier, sweatier, sandier and grimier with summer activities in the heat. With less scrubbing time needed, set a goal to cut down your shower time by three or more minutes in the fall.
- Use your head when harvesting. Wash fresh vegetables and fruit in basins of water—never under a continuous stream of water.
- Borrow from the pool. If you’re dropping down the water level or draining your pool in preparation for winter, reuse that water for washing your car.
- Get a head start on winter preparations. Once the weather gets colder, it’s harder for people to “motivate” themselves to face the cold and check indoors and outdoors for leaky pipes and faucets. Colder weather can also make repairs more challenging.
- Read the circulars: From Labor Day to Columbus Day, many fall holidays come with excellent sales on appliances—making it a great time for you to convert to water- and energy-efficient washers, dishwashers, shower heads and more.
Hopefully my top 10 tips will keep you from “falling back” into ill-advised water habits this autumn!