With several inches of snow and rain falling in the last few days, water conservation is probably the last thing on your mind. But after a dry winter, water conservationists and cities are asking people to think about saving H2O now.
“Conserving water can look good and it’s not as hard as people think,” said Casey Finlinson, conservation coordinator at Central Utah Gardens, 355 W. University Parkway in Orem. “We can conserve more water outside than we can inside, and that’s where we can make the biggest difference.”
Here are five tips to saving water and following water restrictions in Utah.
1. Turn it off
“One of the most important things to remember is to definitely adjust your timer based on the weather,” Finlinson said. That means when it rains or snows — as it did this week — turn off your sprinklers. Finlinson said he saw sprinklers on Thursday morning, despite the storm the day before.
Slowtheflow.org also suggests buying a sensor for your sprinkler system so that it only turns on when your landscaping needs it. There are sensors that turn your sprinklers on when the soil is dry, and there are weather sensors that make sure your system says off when it’s raining.
Also, watering in the early morning or evening will help prevent evaporation. Payson already has activated its water restrictions, and watering outside of your designated day could result in a fine and even jail time.
2. Sweep up
Use water for plants, not cleaning your driveway. “Use a broom instead,” Finlinson said. “It won’t get as clean but it won’t use as much water.”
Slowtheflow.org says using a broom will save 80 gallons of water each time you clean.
3. Check your system
Finlinson suggests periodically checking your sprinkler system to make sure nozzles aren’t dripping and everything’s working as it should.
Another important thing to check — make sure your sprinklers aren’t watering sidewalks or driveways, says slowtheflow.org.
4. Change the landscape
Instead of having an all-lawn yard, add shrubs, wildflowers and rocks to save water and money, suggests slowtheflow.org. Finlinson said the Central Utah Gardens has different types of grasses on display that use less water. And ornamental grass is a good low-maintenance, water-saving plant.
Another thing to change — how you water. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses work well for flowers and veggie gardens, according to slowtheflow.org. Use a watering can for potted plants instead of a hose. For trees, water around the circumference not the base, because that’s where the root tips are. And try to direct your runoff toward trees and shrubs.
5. Be the change
Finlinson said he sees landscaping trends going toward saving water, but there’s still work to do. Though it’s encouraging to see ornamental grasses in park strips along University Parkway instead of lawn, for a lot of people there’s a disconnect, and they don’t realize there’s a water shortage.
“We have to get people interested in making the change and doing it first, then it has to snowball,” he said. “We’re hoping it will snowball.”