3/04/2014

Water Conservation in Southern California--It Can Save You Money!

lawn to garden
Ironically, on the day of heavy rain last week in Long Beach, drought conditions were officially declared (again) by the City, and water restrictions were officially put into place, and/or reminded of once more. So diners must ask for water in restaurants, and water users are not to water more often than 3 days per week at specified times and for no longer than 10 minutes. Most people don't think about how much water a dripping shower wastes, or sprinklers that are constantly leaking--you can save lots of money by fixing these problems.

Here are 10 tips from the Community Associations Institute to conserve water, because about 60% of water usage is used outdoors, according to the Irvine Ranch Water District.
  1. Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Save 25 gallons per day.
  2. Choose a water-efficient irrigation system, such as drip irrigation for your trees, flowers and shrubs. Save 15 gallons each time you water.
  3. Maintain your irrigation system. Check your sprinkler system frequently for leaks, and adjust nozzles so only your lawn is being watered and not the house, sidewalk or street. A well-functioning irrigation system can save 500 gallons per month.
  4. Water deeply, but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes. Reduce water runoff onto sidewalk, streets, by watering as frequently as possible and for less time. For a free watering schedule, visit irwd.com. Save 12-15 gallons each time you water.
  5. Monitor the performance of your landscape and adjust the run times up or down accordingly. If your lawn does not spring back when stepped on, it’s time to water.  Be sure to turn off your irrigation system when it rains, and depending on rainfall wait to restart. Save 1,100 gallons per irrigation cycle.
  6. Consider investing in a weather-based smart controller. These devices will automatically adjust the watering schedule based on soil moisture, rain, wind and evaporation and transpiration rates. Check with your local water agency to see if there is a rebate available for the purchase of a smart controller. Save 40 gallons per day.
  7. Replace your lawn with drought-resistant trees and plants. These plants are well suited for California’s mild winters and dry summers. They are low maintenance, use less water and don’t require soil preparation or fertilizing. Remember to contact your association and obtain prior architectural approval, if necessarySave 30-60 gallons each time you water per 1,000 sq. ft.
  8. Plant the right plants for your climate. Use the Save Our Water-Wise Garden Tool to learn what plants and flowers will work best in your neighborhood. Or, download a free copy of A Homeowners Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape.
  9. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.  Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds. Save 20-30 gallons each time you water per 1000 sq. ft.
  10. Avoid using water for outdoor clean-up. Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Wash cars with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle. Save 8-18 gallons per minute.
See http://www.lblawntogarden.com/ for the City of Long Beach conservation and rebate programs for residences.

For more tips and samples of drought tolerant landscapes, visit www.bewaterwise.com, http://saveourh20.org or download the toolkit.

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