Ways To Conserve Water
With the abundant rainfall in Oregon, it can be difficult to understand the need to conserve water. However, population growth and the escalating cost of producing water and maintaining its quality dictate that we use water wisely.
The average Lake Oswegan uses about 80 gallons of water each day. You can make simple changes around your home that save hundreds of gallons of water a week, which may represent significant financial savings in your utility bills.
Here are several ways you can conserve this precious commodity:
Landscaping, Lawn and Garden
- Landscaping accounts for 20-50 percent of your water bill.
- Water slowly and selectively during cool, windless hours (early in the morning or late at night).
- Install a drip or efficient irrigation system.
- Maintain a lawn height of 2-1/2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation.
- Avoid planting turf in areas that are difficult to irrigate properly such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
- Aerate clay soils at least once a year to help the soil retain moisture.
- Promote deep root growth through a combination of proper watering, aeration, appropriate fertilization, thatch (grass clippings) control, and attention to lawn height. A lawn with deep roots requires less water and is more resistant to drought and disease.
- Mulch around plants, bushes, and trees to help the soil retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and provide essential nutrients.
- Plant in the spring or fall, when watering requirements are lower.
- When choosing plants, keep in mind that smaller ones require less water to become established, and consider the use of drought-tolerant plant materials (Xeriscape).
- Collect rain water in a barrel and use it to water your garden. (Please note: this is not a legal practice in some areas.)
- Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
- For more in-depth lawn care information, check out Ecologically Sound Lawn Care For the Pacific Northwest
Leaks are the number one problem for water conservation and account for more than five percent of all water use. Check faucets and hose connections for leaks. Inspect pipes for pinhole leaks, leaking joints, etc. You can obtain directions on how to check for leaks in your house.
Select water-saving devices
When buying a new washer or other water-using device, purchase one with water conservation features.
Do only full loads. Avoid using extra cycles whenever possible. Choose a water-saving model.
Use the sink disposal sparingly. Better yet, compost your vegetable waste.
Keep a container of cool water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet.
Rinse your car once, wash from a bucket, and rinse quickly again. Be sure to use a shut-off nozzle on your hose.