Waterwise Wednesday: Summer Water

Scottsbluff water use triples in the summer and about 2/3 goes to landscape watering. Save money, energy, and water with wiser outdoor water use.

1. Avoid overwatering – aim for .75 to 1.5 inches a week depending on the week’s temperatures. Or do the footprint test – if the grass springs up, moisture levels are good. If the grass footprint stays flat, time to water.

2. Water in short sessions to promote absorption instead of flood irrigating.

3. Mow at least 3 inches high to retain moisture and lower water demand.

4. In the long-term, invest in native and drought tolerant landscaping that are hardier and require less water and chemical for their upkeep.

5. Install drip and/or smart water systems to water only where necessary and when needed.

Photo © Publicdomainphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Fire(works) and Water

Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic chemicals (PBTs) like copper, lead, perchlorate, and lithium remain on firework debris after detonation. PBTs remain in the environment for very long periods of time, are highly resistant to degradation, easily enter and quickly accumulate in the food chain and can be toxic to both humans and animals.

– Please pick up firework debris. Let spent fireworks sit only until they’re no longer hot or burning then move them to a bucket with water.

– Water used to soak spent fireworks should be flushed in a toilet so the water can be treated at the wastewater treatment plant. Please do not pour the water down the gutter or on lawns to avoid contaminating ground and water with PBTs.

– Sweep small firework particles and put them in a plastic bag for disposal in the trash. The particles are prone to travel in the wind or in water runoff spreading PBTs to soils and waterways.

Photo: S. Schanaman

Waterwise Wednesday: Holding Water with Healthy Soil

Hand holding a small plant and stream of water

Water less and boost plant health with healthy soil. Pores in healthy soil increase the water holding power and nutrient access for root systems too, which not only help plant growth but also prevent erosion, soil pollution, and further increase water retention.

Save water and Increase soil water retention with these tips:

– Avoid compaction with heavy equipment to preserve porous spaces in the soil.

– Add compost to your soil to improve its ability filter water more effectively during heavy rain and retain more moisture for plants during drought.

– Use drip irrigation to water plants’ directly above the roots and minimize evaporation.

– Place plants close enough to shade areas of bare soil between them to save water and resulting in fewer weeds. To retain moisture in the soil between plants that need wide spacing, try a weed barrier like mulch, or under sow a ground cover that won’t grow tall and compete.

Photo © Ongap

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Saving for the Yard

1. Water early in the morning to soak water into lawns and prevent loss to wind or evaporation.

2. Time watering sessions and don’t overwater. Most lawns only need about an inch of water per week to thrive.

3. Look for leaks to prevent unnecessary water loss.

4. Mow at least three inches high to avoid stressing grass turf during hot weather.

Photo © Publicdomainphotos

Trickle Down Thursday: Rain Gardens

Spring rains can highlight many low-lying areas in our yards that don’t drain well. A rain garden can help turn that pond in your yard into something beautiful and useful. By utilizing native plants that return each year (perennials), rain gardens can attract pollinators and add to the curb appeal of your home. The Groundwater Foundation has tips for Rain Gardens here: http://bit.ly/34ZJh8u

Trickle Down Thursday: Sprinkler Systems

This little trick can save you $$$!

Have an in-ground sprinkler system? Are you overwatering? To find out, grab an empty tin can (like this tuna can) and set it in your lawn. Let your system run for about 15 minutes and then measure the amount of water collected in the can. 1 inch of water each week is adequate for an established lawn during a dry spell. Call your lawn care professional or click here to learn more: http://bit.ly/2WZ5peO

Waterwise Wednesday: Wildflowers and Water Quality

This week we celebration Nebraska Wildflower Week and all the benefits wildflowers provide for our environment, including clean water.

– Wildflower’s extensive and deep root systems slow down runoff, reduce soil erosion, and absorb dirty water before it gets into the nearby waterways.

– Wildflowers provide critical habitat for pollinators, beneficial insects, and wildlife.

– Wildflowers are native to where they grow, conditioned to thrive there. That means they use less water and fertilizer, resist disease and are more tolerant to pests.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Sparingly and Caringly

Fertilizer is the largest pollutant in stormwater runoff and spawns large algae blooms, nutrient overload, and hypoxic (or Dead zones) in ponds, lakes, and rivers. Protect water from fertilizer:

– Apply fertilizer according to instructions

– Use only the amount needed

– Sweep stray fertilizer back onto the lawn or garden to keep it out of the gutter.

– Switch to native landscaping which require less fertilizer and water for their upkeep.

Graphic: AskHRGreen.org