Earlier this summer, the lack of rain, sweltering summer sun, and our thirsty gardens were a reminder to all of us that water is a vital part of our day-to-day life. Hot, dry conditions can stress not only our gardens but also farmland, drinking water supply, recreation opportunities, environment, and community. We can all help reduce our collective water footprint by incorporating a few smart water management practices into our day. Pick a few of the actions below to help save more than just a drop in the bucket:
- Consider installing WaterSense labeled toilets and faucets in your bathroom and kitchen. WaterSense is a government designation for water-efficient appliances that can also help save money on your next water bill.
- Check your faucets (both indoors and outside!) for leaks to help save thousands of gallons of water a year.
- Consider incorporating more native plants into your landscape beds, or even convert some of the turf in your yard to a native plant meadow. Native plants are well adapted to our climate and soil conditions and often have a lower water demand than non-native alternatives. Native plant suggestions can be found in HGIC 1852, An Introduction to Native Plants for SC Landscapes.
- Use a rain gauge to monitor rainfall or take an evening stroll across the lawn and check to see if you leave “footprints,” a sign that lawns may need supplemental irrigation. In the summer months, lawns need approximately one inch of water per week as either rainfall or irrigation.
- Consider watering your garden or lawn in the morning when cooler temperatures mean less water is lost to evaporation. For more info on lawn watering best practices, read HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns.
- Adjust your sprinklers to only irrigate where needed, and avoid watering your driveway, sidewalk, or street.
- When it rains, help capture some of that runoff draining off your roof with a rain barrel or cistern. Harvested rainwater can be used to irrigate your landscape beds and (bonus!) can help you save on your water bill. No gutter? Get crafty and make a rain chain using the instructions in HGIC 1883, Rain Chain.