It’s mid-summer, Panhandle temperatures rise and both the landscape and drought map begin to turn yellow and gold. According to the Drought Monitor, Scotts Bluff County is now experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
The water we use now greatly affects the supply we have in the future – especially if drought conditions spread and continue. Scottsbluff’s water system relies on groundwater pumped through wells, instead of surface water, which replenishes very slowly. Dry or drought conditions cause less regeneration of the ground water supply. Please use water wisely and conservatively.
1. Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water through the tap until it’s the right temperature can waste several gallons of potable water.
2. Leftover ice cubes from your drink? Give them to a houseplant, it provides a nice slow watering.
3. When the kids want to run in the sprinkler, set the sprinkler where the lawn needs it most.
It’s nearly July and the gardens are green and full of early summer blossoms – using just rainwater.
Late last week the City of Scottsbluff finally turned the water on the downtown gardens, about three months after lawn watering began around the city. Native and well adapted plants use much less water than traditional turf once established. They’re also drought hardy, provide needed habitat for pollinators and create a distinct sense of place with a plant palate tailored for the Nebraska Panhandle.
Many lawns are over-watered leading to root rot, shallow-rooted plants and the spread of fungal growth on the grass. Horticulturists agree that lawns should get no more than 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall. An empty can placed on your lawn can be used to measure accumulation and moisture sensors attached to automated systems can help prevent over watering.
Drip and emitter systems conserve water by regulating volume, velocity, and direction of water flow. Plants can be targeted with a slow steady specific quantity of water using drip tubes or emitters. This prevents over watering and watering where not needed. And the systems are discreet, designed to function effectively while lying under a layer of mulch.
Memorial Weekend officially launches summer fun season which often includes water games and activities. The water doesn’t have to go waste. Play water games on the lawn or in the pool so that the aftermath simply waters the lawn fills or trickles back to the pool.
Keep water from evaporating or blowing in the wind by using a sprinkler that produces large drops of water and send droplets out at a low angle. Adjust sprinkler heads as necessary, to avoid waste, runoff and ensure proper coverage.