By Geri Williams
It is more important than ever for all of us to conserve and protect our water. Whether we are on Town water or our own well, as most of our Watershed residents are, we get our water from the same Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer. Summer demands on our water resources, especially with recent droughts, have incurred increased concerns and water restrictions. Some ways we can reduce our water usage:
- Minimize lawn area. Watering lawns is the single greatest use of water, more than any agricultural crops or household use. Plant new or expand current gardens. Plant shade friendly native perennials under trees, it will be easier to maintain than grass. Install a patio, deck or walkways.
- Only water a lawn when it is dry, i.e. when walking on it, footprints are left behind for several minutes. It will not die during prolonged drought, it will revive with rain. Cutting a lawn at a height of 3 inches will help it retain moisture.
- Use native plants. Once established they require less water, fertilizer, and help pollinators and birds.
- Water early in the day, when not windy so more moisture reaches the roots. Consider soaker hoses for flowerbeds rather than overhead sprinklers, more water gets to the roots and you will have less mildew on plants.
- Install a rain barrel or two, to capture roof runoff. The rainwater is better for plants than tap water.
- Spreading an inch or two of compost or mulch in the spring will help retain moisture, so plants won’t need as much water. It will also help them grow better.
- Wash cars at a car wash. They use less water and recycle it.
- Use a broom to sweep a driveway or walkways rather than using a hose to wash them off.
- Only wash clothes and dishes with full loads.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables in a dishpan and use the water on plants. When waiting for hot water from a faucet, collect it a watering can for houseplants.
- Install water saving showerheads and aerators on faucets.
- Install a new low-flush toilet or fill a milk jug with water and put it in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used with each flush. Follow the old saying “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”
Not only will these tips save water, it will be putting less effluent into the septic system, prolonging its useful life and saving pumping costs.