8 Free Ways to Save Water Outdoors
by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator
The average person living in the Region of Waterloo uses 200 litres of water a day so our regional government created an online self-audit called the WET Challenge. It is part of an effort to lower the average amount of water used per person to 165 litres.
Here are eight ways you can conserve water outside your home–without spending a single cent. In fact, using these tips can save you money and help the environment.
Obey the water conservation by-law
Before you do any outdoor watering, be sure to know when you can do different types of watering according to schedule in the Region of Waterloo’s Water Conservation by-law.
8 tips on conserving water outside
- Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. It also helps keep gravel and other items swept up out of the storm sewers.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3″) will also promote water retention in the soil.
Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and the lawn will go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This may result in a brown summer lawn, but it saves a lot of water.
- Don’t wash your car at home
Use a car wash that uses water efficiently and diverts oil and grime from the storm water system.
- Don’t water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
- When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most
- Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water
- Water your garden with a watering can rather than a garden hose
A hose uses 1,000 litres of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.
Learn more about dealing with water outside your home from our RAIN program.
Do you have any tips to share? Any habits that don’t require spending a cent?