One or two average or even above average rainfall seasons will make little difference to the water shortage problems being faced in many areas. In fact, due to the population growth and water demands all over the country – and outside the United States – many places are discovering that the current water supplies are not going to last as long as expected. You can do a number of things to not only relieve the demand on your area’s water supplies, but lower your own water bills. Sure, you can stop letting water run from the faucet or flush toilets less often. But you can make an even bigger impact by using your property, house and garden. Here are some suggestions on how to build in ways to save water in your landscape.
Storage tanks: If you have room on your property, build in a storage tank and channel rain from your roof gutters into it. Paint it with a colorful mural or surround it with a tall growing garden.
Underground storage: build an underground storage tank under your lawn or patio that will take up no extra room on your property while collecting run-off from rain or sprinkler systems and recycling it to water your garden.
Rain barrels: For smaller areas set up rain barrels and connect your downspout directly to them. You can build your own from recycled containers and even add a tap at the bottom for easy access or hitch up a drip irrigation system to it. Linking several rain barrels together will allow you to collect more water.
Gray water: Now that many state restrictions are being lifted around the country you can set up plumbing to take advantage of rinse water from washing machines, dishwashers and other waste water. This water should not be used anywhere around edible plants.
Drip irrigation: add drip irrigation systems to your property. Large plants and trees can be watered slowly to allow deep penetration by using soaker hoses or adding slow-release bubblers. Consider building your own drip system or look into some of the more efficient, newer designs like sub-surface irrigation.
Select the right sprinkler heads: for larger areas and hillsides spend a little extra to get the slow, efficient watering of low-volume rotating heads. Make sure your heads are configured so they don’t water concrete, walls or other non-living areas. And check your sprinkler heads regularly for leaks, cracks or blown heads.
And, of course, plant the right plants in the right places so you don’t have to add much extra water. Opt for areas of drought-tolerant gardens, leave spaces with permeable paving that don’t have to be watered at all, and add native plants to your landscape.
These are just some ways you can make a real difference with water use. Not only can you help balance your impact on planetary consumption and make your own property more efficient, but you can seriously reduce your water bills. And depending on where you live you may find you’ll save enough to pay for the cost of any materials you bought in order to build in ways to save water in your landscape. From there on you’ll virtually be putting money in your pocket