Waterwise Wednesday: Managing Stormwater Runoff

While it’s unusual to get the amount of rain we had two weeks ago, it does remind us to take some flood precautions.

1. Basement windows or doors are common storm water entry points and should be sealed against leaks. Clear plastic covers or window wells that extend above ground level can help. Ideally, window and door sills should at least a foot above ground level.

2. Slope the yard away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the house and leaking into the basement. Create a rain garden or low basin landscaped with shrubs and flowers to encourage water to soak into the ground.

3. Eliminate paved surfaces where possible and consider alternatives that allow water to soak into the ground. Consider porous concrete or porous pavers for driveways. Gravel or woodchips for walking paths.

4. Aim downspouts toward the lawn and away from the foundation and paved surfaces. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rainwater for watering lawns and gardens in dry weather.

Photo: Creative Commons

Waterwise Wednesday: Garden Hose Tips

Use an adjustable shut-off nozzle which can be down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. Turn it of at the faucet instead of the nozzle when finished to avoid leaks.

Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.

Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. 600 gallons or more can flow in only a few hours. Set a shut-off reminder to turn it off.

 

Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.

Install ornamental water features, like fountains, only if the water is recycled. 

 

Image may contain: outdoor

 


Photo: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Waterwise Wednesday: Spring Sprinkler Tips

Consider these tips from conserveh20.org as you prep the sprinkler system for the season for effective and efficient watering.

 

1. Look for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.

 

2. Look for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.

3. Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.

4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky – minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.

Waterwise Wednesday: Rain Harvesting Romans

Image may contain: sky, grass, plant, cloud, mountain, outdoor and natureRecent research suggests rain harvesting may have provided the 800 Roman soliders manning Hadrian’s Fort with 10 liters (2.62 gallons) of drinking water per per capita per day during their deployment.

Evidence at Hadrian’s Fort, a strategic Roman outpost along Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, indicates building rooftops were constructed to capture rainfall. The runoff collected in stone-lined tanks, two to six tanks per key building, capable of holding 2 cubic meters (about 528 gallons) of water each.

It’s an amazing feat of foresight, considering Hadrian’s Fort has no internal springs or wells, access to springs or waterways in the region, and an aqueduct supply would have been extremely impractical.

Photo by David Ross
Hadrian’s Wall at Steel Rigg
Twice Brewed, Northumberland, England

Waterwise Wednesday: What’s Your Meal’s Water Footprint?

To grow, process and transport food requires a lot of water. Consequently, eating lower on the food chain, consuming whole foods and wasting less food, also saves water.

To learn more about the water required to produce our food check out the water calculator:

Waterwise Wednesday: The Capetown Warning for Metro Areas

Capetown’s crisis is in the spotlight now, but other metropolitan areas could soon follow:

Cape Town’s taps are due to be turned off because of severe drought. It is not alone in having water woes.
BBC.COM

Waterwise Wednesday: Leaky Toilet

The bathroom toilet accounts for 25%-30% of daily water use in the U.S. home. A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day.

Check for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, don’t flush. 
If the color reaches the bowl in 10-15 minutes there’s a leak. It’s likely the toilet flapper is worn and no longer seals.


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Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Watering

Trees and plants may be parched and in need of water due to Winter being very dry, windy and warm here in the Panhandle.

– Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant.

– Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night.

– To water trees, apply water to the most critical part of the root zone under the tree canopy and let the soil soak to a depth of 12 inches.

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Resolutions

Here are 10 top ways to save water in the New Year.

1. KNOW WHERE YOUR WATER IS WASTED
Scottsbluff pumps 6.6 million gallons a day in the heat of the summer and 2.8 million gallons a day the coldest month. The majority of the difference is for lawn irrigation. Limit outdoor w

ater waste with drought tolerant turf, xeriscaping, rain gardens and other sustainable landscape options.

2. UPGRADE YOUR APPLIANCES & FIXTURES
Choose a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency clothes washers, toilets, and showerheads to save more than 20% from conventional appliances.

3. WATER LESS
Water at dawn while cool and calm, to reduce evaporation. Water in short bursts, instead of a long soak, for better soil infiltration.

4. SHORTEN YOUR SHOWERS
Even a one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month, for a family of four. Save up to 200 to 300 gallons per month by using a bucket or to capture what is waste while waiting for the shower or sink water to warm up, and use it on house-plants or in your garden.

5. SWEEP, DON’T HOSE
Save 150 gallons or more by sweeping instead of hosing driveways and sidewalks. Don’t run the hose while washing your car on the lawn. Instead, use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse which saves 150 gallons each time and gives the lawn a water boost.

6. WATER THE GREEN, NOT THE GUTTER
Adjust sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn or garden – and only there. That can save 500 gallons per month. Check for broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Also, ensure that drip system nozzles and emitters are directed toward your plants and not at a sidewalk or driveway.

7. PLANT A NATIVE GARDEN
Native gardens require less maintenance, don’t need chemical fertilizers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds! Panhandle friendly plants can reduce a home’s water consumption by 60 percent.

8. DON’T WASTE THE RAIN
Capture rain runoff in a rain barrel to water the garden or design a swale to slow, spread, and sink rainwater into the soil. That way you’ll need to irrigate less and can conserve more.

9. DON’T WATER WHEN IT RAINS
It seems obvious, but don’t water during downpours or in the hours after a storm. Rain or soil moisture sensors can determine if and how long to water. Both devices can stand-alone or added on to existing controllers. They can reduce outdoor water use by up to 70 percent without sacrificing the quality or health of your landscape.

10. LOCATE THE LEAKS
A minor leak can waste 20 gallons a day and a leaky toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day. Don’t let minor water leaks in your home go unfixed. Check for and repair leaks in all toilets, faucets and showerheads.

Photo: Fuzzbones/Dreamstime

Waterwise Wednesday: Let it Drip?!

Yes, it sounds strange, but keeping the water moving through a home’s water system in below-freezing weather greatly reduces the likelihood of freezing and bursting pipes. Turn on a faucet at the opposite end of the system from where it enters the building. Place a bucket under the faucet to catch the drip and use it later for flushing toilets or watering plants.