Conserving Water is a Very Real Priority


 

by Jack Lee

Less than 1% of the water supply on Earth is fresh water. Where is the rest of the world’s water? 97% of the global water resources is salt water, 2% is trapped in icebergs and the remaining 1% makes up our fresh water supply. This 1% must cover our population’s consumption and daily use.

Fresh water must meet all industrial, municipal and agricultural needs. Frankly, up to 69% of our fresh water supply is consumed by the agricultural industry in comparison to 21% for municipal applications and 10% for industrial use. In tandem with usage, the world’s population is skyrocketing. The world population was estimated at 0.7 billion in 1750…2.3 billion in 1950 and projected at 9.5 billion in 2050. This will only increase the demand of fresh, potable water.

While we cannot alter control of our static water supply, we can control how much water we use on a daily basis. The United States (U.S.) is a major consumer and “waster” of water. In the U.S. the average person uses up to 150 gallons of water per day. Compare this to only 39 gallons per day in the United Kingdom, 23 gallons per day in China and 4 gallons per day in Ethiopia. Water conservation has become a necessary practice in all regions of the U.S.; even in areas where water seem abundant. Water conservation leads to many benefits:

  • Protects fresh drinking water resources
  • Save money on household utilities
  • Conserve energy needed to pump, heat and treat fresh water
  • Reduce harmful land erosion caused by agricultural irrigation
  • Helps prevent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and watersheds
  • Preserve fresh water resources to sustain fish, plant and wildlife
  • Save significant expenditures spent on recycling, cleaning and purifying water

        Water conservation in the yard and garden

        Up to 60% of household water use may go toward yard and garden maintenance. Depending on the specific part of the nation where tendency toward drought is a frequent occurrence, it may require more water to care for outside property needs.

         

        10 Significant Ways to Conserve Water in the Yard and Garden

         

        1. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants

        When planting a new lawn, or over-seeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses. Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard. Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff. Group and organize plants according to their watering needs.

         

        2. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants.

        Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 - 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff.

         

         3. Don't water the gutter.

        Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.

         

         

        4.Water the lawn only when it needs it.

        A good way to see if the lawn needs watering is to actually step on the grass. If it springs back up when your foot is lifted, 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.

         

         

        5.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 fish can” on your lawn - when it's full, you've watered about the right amount.

         

         

        6.Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it's windy.

        Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it's windy - wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.

         

         

        7.Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns.

        Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be 'top dressed' with compost or organic matter. 

        Greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds and lawns by: 
        - The strategic placement of soaker hoses
        - Installing a rain barrel water catchment system
        - installing a simple drip irrigation system

        Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves. When hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.

         

         

        8. Install a smart, Wi-Fi enabled irrigation controller and mobile app makes home sprinkler systems, significantly more effective and saves money.

        Water tasks will vary with the predictability of the local forecast. If it rains, watering tasks will automatically be skipped. Review the world’s only multi-functional smart controller at www.yardian.com.

         

         

        9. Sweep with a broom, not use a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.

         

         10. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings.

        Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they're not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.

        Water conservation comes naturally when everyone in the family is aware of its importance, and parents take the time to teach their children some of the simple water-saving methods around the home which can make a significant difference.

        Water Conservation Summary

        In 1990, 30 states in the US reported 'water-stress' conditions. In 2000, the number of states reporting water-stress rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose to 45. There continues to be a worsening trend in water supply on a nationwide basis. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves money, it also is of great benefit to the community-at- large.

        By using water-saving features home water use may be reduced by 35%. This means the average household, which uses 130,000 gallons per year, could save 44,000 gallons of water per year. On a daily basis, the average household, using 350 gallons per day, could save 125 gallons of water per day. The average individual, currently using 150 gallons per day, could save 50 gallons of water per day.