The start of summer brings the hottest, driest months of the year in San Diego County and a good time to remind residents of the Top 10 tips for using water more efficiently.
Top 10 tips to use water more efficiently
Check it out. Inspect irrigation equipment to eliminate overspray. Monitor soil moisture using a spade or soil probe, and only water if the top inch of soil is dry. Irrigate turf if it doesn’t spring back when stepped on. Better yet, upgrade to a “smart” irrigation controller that automatically adjusts water times based on weather conditions. Rebates for a variety of irrigation equipment are at WaterSmartSD.org.
Let it sink in. Irrigate mature trees once or twice a month using a soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – not at the base of the tree. Use a hose faucet timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering. Young trees need more frequent irrigation; consult an arborist or tree-care manual for details.
Maintain your mulch (and compost). Keeping a 3-inch layer of mulch around trees and plants reduces runoff, helps control weeds and protects soil from direct sunlight and evaporation. Keep mulch at least a foot away from tree trunks and several inches from the crowns of plants. Also, add compost to increase soil nutrients.
Use water efficiently
Drink responsibly. Keep drinking water cool in your refrigerator to avoid running the tap. Use refillable water bottles instead of buying disposable plastic bottles.
Put a lid on it. Pool and spa covers reduce evaporation, lower pool heating costs and keep dirt and other debris out of the pool.
Let your lawn grow
Take a break. New plants need more water to get established, so wait until fall and winter for planting to take advantage of cooler temperatures and rain.
Go to summer school. Get started planning your WaterSmart landscape by surfing WaterSmart Landscaping Videos On Demand from the comfort of your beach chair or sofa.
Let your lawn grow. Set your mower to leave grass at least 3 inches high because taller blades reduce evaporation up to 80 percent and protect roots from heat.
Keep it clean. Patronize car washes that recycle water and save at least 15 gallons each time. When washing at home, use a hose nozzle that shuts off when you release the handle.
Rinse right. Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of in running water. Afterward, pour the collected water on a plant.
More information on how residents and business can use water efficiently, along with rebates, classes and other water-saving resources, at WaterSmartSD.org