With droughts in the news recently in places ranging from California to northern Australia, water conservation has become a hot topic. But what if you live in a part of the country that's not lacking water? There's no need for you to sit inside, feeling guilty, while your landscaping dies of thirst. On the other hand, even in areas not currently experiencing a drought, there are some important reasons why you shouldn't waste water if you can help it.
Are You In A Drought Area?
You may know this already, especially if you live in an agricultural area where people discuss water conditions over morning coffee. If not, it's important to know whether your area is suffering a drought because most water is used or conserved locally—taking shorter showers in Maine doesn't do much for California farmers. The National Drought Mitigation Center has a handy map that can show you whether your part of the country is experiencing drought as well as the severity and general length of regional droughts.
If Your Area Doesn't Have A Drought, Why Conserve Water?
If your region is experiencing nothing—or even just a little dryness—it might seem like you can use as much water as you want. After all, you're unlikely to be under any water restrictions like many homeowners on the West Coast. But too much water usage still has its costs:
- Increased water bills for homeowners
- Increased costs to municipalities to pump and treat more water
- Increased energy usage to run equipment like pumps and wastewater facilities
- Poor soil quality, as over-watering leeches nutrients from the soil
- Pollution of soil and wastewater as more fertilizer is added to combat nutrient leeching
How Can Sprinklers Help Conserve Water?
Conserving water doesn't have to mean letting your lawn turn brown or replacing your grass with cacti and astroturf. Because sprinklers (available from companies like Krupske Sprinkler Systems) let you set where and when you water, whether you're home or not, they can help you use less water and keep your yard looking nice. It's all about when and where you water.
When Should You Water?
By watering early in the morning, you give your plants all day to dry their leaves while allowing the water to be absorbed into the soil before the sun evaporates it. If getting up early to water the lawn doesn't sound like your idea of fun, sprinklers with programmable timers can save you the trouble.
Why Does Location Matter?
Open areas of grass need more water than shrubberies or trees, and sunny areas will dry out faster than shaded ones. Setting your sprinklers for different amounts of time in different areas means you don't have to overwater one area to satisfy another. Setting out a measuring cup and letting your sprinklers run will show you how much water any given area is getting so that you can adjust based on the needs of your plants.