Water – Use It Wisely

We are lucky to be able to turn a faucet, flip a switch, or program a dial and get good quality water. At a cost. The price of water in Marin continues to increase, and with the tiered systems used by Marin water providers, the more you use the more it costs.  More importantly, during periods of drought, it’s even more important to pay close attention to how and when you irrigate your garden. Here are ideas for helping you conserve water:

Timing

  • Water during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest.
  • Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption.
  • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  • Adjust your watering schedule to the weather and the season.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.

Soil / plants

  • Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don’t water.
  • Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.
  • Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil; it also helps control weeds that compete with plants for water.
  • Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.

Equipment

  • Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient, such as drip irrigation and soaker hoses.
  • Use a shut-off valve on your hose, and a nozzle that can be adjusted down to a fine spray.
  • Check hose connectors to make sure plastic or rubber washers are in place. Washers prevent leaks.
  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to confirm they operate properly.
  • When watering on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent runoff.
  • Don’t allow sprinklers to water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position them so water lands on the plants… not on paved areas.
  • Check your water meter and bill to track how much water you use and manage your usage.

By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

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