Although we are in the middle of winter, with months of potential rainfall, it is wise to start saving water now.
• Water landscaping only if irrigation is needed. Water no more than twice a week unless the weather is hot, dry and windy.
• Check your soil with a water-probe, spade or screwdriver to determine if dry and get in touch with your senses and respect the complex intricacies of a landscape setting with all its components.
• Water deeply so it will penetrate the soil just below the root zone of the various plants in the landscape.
• Water landscaping only between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., when there is less evaporation and it is cool.
• Check your automatic irrigation clock and adjust per the seasons. Use tensiometers out in the landscape. Check your battery in the time-clock.
• Mulch all plantings as the weather moves into drier months, at least two to three inches of rich, clean organic mulch, and keep away from the base of plants.
• Use a broom to clean patios, driveways and walkways. It burns calories. Gardening is a wonderful way of maintaining a healthy state of mind, spirit and body.
• Check with your pool specialist to learn how to operate your pool or spa in a safe and water-efficient manner. Install pool covers on pools and spas, which can save 30 gallons per day.
• Potted plants dehydrate quickly; hook up a mini drip system.
• Harvest rainwater when possible. Go online to learn various methods.
• Use drought-tolerant plant materials, not only indigenous plants.
• “Plan before you plant” – my golden rule.
• Install ultra-low-flush toilets. These 1.6 gallons-per-flush toilets cut the amount of water by 50 percent.
• Don’t use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket.
• Install a high-efficiency clothes washer. These use 40 percent less water than a standard washer. There may also be some rebates.
• Rinse vegetables in a filled sink or pan instead of under running water in the sink. Use that pan water to water your houseplants or pots out on the patio.
• Educate your children about different ways they can help. Keep the kids in tune with water conservation talk around the home.
• Turn your water off while brushing your teeth and while shaving.
• Take shorter showers. A typical shower consumes three to eight gallons of water per minute.
• Install water-saving showerheads. All new showerheads use 2.5 gallons a minute or less.
• Defrost frozen foods without running water over the packages. Place food in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it in microwave.
• Fix those leaking plumbing joints both inside and outside the home. This can save up to 20 gallons of water per day.
• Fully load your dishwasher. Each time you run your dishwasher, you use about 25 gallons of water.
We must get our mindsets out of our old ways and become more in touch with the environment, our communities and resources from the earth and educate one and all about alternative ways of coexisting on this planet to become more sustainable in our daily lifestyles.
We must save water throughout the year, not only when it gets hot and our water bills soar. Like Nike says, “Just do it,” and I say “now!”
New horizons, new frontiers and new thinking must be employed today in order to be in sync with the times. We must keep the faith. For more tips, go to http://www.thegarden.org or http://www.20gallonchallenge.com.
Roger Boddaert is a professional landscape architect and can be reached at (760) 728-4297.