Your sprinkler systems should be left in the off position and only turned on when absolutely needed, to avoid the unnecessary waste of water. We also need to be cognizant of how much water our sprinklers are putting out during their cycle. Most systems can probably cut their run times in half and still satisfy the lawn’s needs. Everyone needs to take a few minutes to evaluate their sprinkler's performance and make the necessary adjusts to ensure proper efficiency. Each sprinkler head should be checked to ensure proper operation, proper direction (not aiming on streets, driveways, or sidewalks) and after the system shuts off to make sure the heads are not leaking. These few simple checks along with the “hands on” approach with sprinklers normally in the off position, can drastically reduce water consumption during the spring and summer months. Even if you need to hire a sprinkler professional to come and perform these checks, the costs can be offset by lowering your water bill.
Other methods for saving water in the home consist of checking your sinks and toilets for leaks. Toilets are the number one culprit for water loss in the home and waste an incredible amount of water without you even knowing it. If you would like to check your toilet for leaks, we will supply you with die tabs that can be placed in the tank and will turn the water in the bowl blue if you have a leak. If you have an older 6 gallon per flush toilet, think about replacing it with the new efficient 1.6 gallons per flush toilet.
If you are in the market for a new washing machine, the new front loaders can save over 40% in water consumption while doing a better job with the cleaning.
As more trees are being cut and more areas are being paved, our watersheds, which are essential for re-charging our aquifers, are diminishing. It is imperative that we all take and active and pro-active approach for this coming summer and for the years to come. Water is our most precious resource and if we work together we can ensure a safe an adequate supply for future generations.
- Don't overwater your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks. Plant it smart, Xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plantings and irrigation system that will save you time, money and water. For your free copy of "Plant it Smart," an easy-to-use guide to Xeriscape landscaping, contact your Water Management District.
- Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
- Don't water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs ... not the paved areas.
- Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water-efficient methods of irrigation.
- Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly. Anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system should install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
- Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with pants for water.
- Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering. Group plans together based on similar water needs.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
- Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, "Turn it Off" at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
- Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
- Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
- Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
- Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.
- Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are minimal losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
- If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single backflushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.
Tips for Conserving Water:
Don’t let the water run while brushing you teeth and only fill the sink half way when shaving. Take shorter showers and only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Your hot water heater can account for up to 20% of your energy cost.
Sweep your driveway with a broom , do not use a hose. Water your lawn in the early morning hours to avoid evaporation and if you have automatic sprinklers, shut them off when it rains. Also check to make sure they are aimed on your lawn and not on driveways, sidewalks or streets. Purchase water saving devices, such as low flow toilets, shower heads and faucet aerators at any home supply store. Not only will you help conserve water and delay the need for additional water sources but you will lower your water and sewer bill as well.
Fix Those Leaks:
Did you know that a leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons per day ?
A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons per/day.
A hot water leak can cost you .38 cents/day.
Any leak or drip should be fixed immediately. 95% of our calls for high water bills, turn out to be internal leaks. If you suspect you have a leaky toilet, add some food coloring to the tank of the toilet and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Then check the bowl to see if the water has changed color. If it has you know you have a leak. If you believe you have a leak but are having trouble finding it, please call to have water department personnel check it for you. If you have one of the new brass Neptune or Sensus meters, you can easily check for a leak yourself. There is a small red or black triangular dial on the meter head. This is a low flow indicator. Check to make sure that no water that you know of is running. Then watch the dial. If it is moving then you know that there is a leak.
If you notice a drop in your water pressure or any unusual wet areas or bubbling water in your yard, please call to have it checked for a leak. A pinhole in your service line, although not going through your meter, can add up to more than 1,000,000 gallons per year!
The Water dept. would like to offer some winter tips, to help keep your water pipes from freezing. First locate your main shut off valve and water meter. You need to check your valve and make sure it works in case of an emergency. It is usually located in your basement on the side facing the street. Ensure that the area immediately surrounding the valve and meter is warm enough to prevent freezing. In older homes with fieldstone and rock foundations, make sure there are no direct drafts from the holes in the walls or gaps in the windows and doors. If these areas remain cold constantly, you should insulate your pipes or wrap them in heating tape. Both of these items can be found in any home improvement store. Remember, even if the room temperature is warm, a direct cold draft on your water pipes, can cause them to freeze!
In the event that your pipes do become frozen, locate the faucet closest to your main valve and meter. Usually there is one just after the meter. Turn it on to determine if the pipes are frozen in your home or if they are frozen on the street side of the meter. If you have water flow at the point, then the problem is further along the pipe in your home. If you do not have a faucet near the meter, try turning you main valve before the meter off. If it turns freely the problem is most likely in your home. If if will not close please give us a call. If your pipes are frozen in your home, try to locate the frozen area by checking subsequent faucets along the way. If there are none, then feel your way across the pipe to find the coldest spot. Once you find the area, inspect the pipe to make sure it is not split. Locate the nearest shut off in case you need it. Open the nearest faucet and try thawing the pipe with a hair dryer, making sure you slide it from side to side and do not leave it concentrated on one direct spot. This could cause the pipe to burst. In most cases this should solve the problem. If you are unable to thaw the pipe, you should then contact a plumber. If the problem is on the street side of your meter, you should then contact the Water department.
If your water has frozen in the past and the problem has not been corrected, as a last resort you should let your water run a trickle on extremely cold nights. If you have a septic system, it is best to run an outside faucet to keep from filling the tank. If you choose to run the outside faucet, please divert the water from flowing on sidewalks and roadways.
Also, don't forget to turn off and drain the supply to your outside faucets during the winter. They will freeze and split if left on.