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: 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: 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: Sprinkler Spruce Up

Simply follow four steps to get your sprinkler system ready for the season and running efficiently.

  1. Inspect and replace clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads.
  2. Check for leaks where heads and pipes connect, tighten if needed.
  3. Direct sprays on the landscape.
  4. Select the proper watering schedule or employ a weather-based irrigation controller.

Photo: Donkeyru

Waterwise Wednesday: Stop Food Waste Day

Cold food – salami and fresh vegetables served on plate

“Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States,” according to the National Resource Defense Council (2012).  

Annually, 133 billion pounds, about 219 pounds per person, of food is wasted, that equals 30–40 % of the food supply produced in the United States.  Food waste creates the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and a large source of US methane emissions.   

 Stop Food Waste by:

  1. Shopping smart
    • buy only what you need or what you know you’ll use before  food goes bad
    • ask for smaller portions or take left-overs home to eat when eating out
    • Use serving size information on the Nutrition Facts label to help portion meals or snacks.
  2. Store smart – Food spoilage accounts for over 60% of food waste.
    • Check the fridge often to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used.
    • Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40° F  or below and the freezer at 0° F to keep foods safe.
    • Use your freezer! Most foods will keep in the freezer until ready to eat.
    • Follow the 2-Hour Rule. For safety reasons, don’t leave perishables out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you’re keeping it hot or cold. If the temperature is above 90° F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than one hour. Also, remember to refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
  3. Eat Smart!
    • Eat the whole food – don’t miss out on the nutrients in the skins of fruits and vegetables
    • Learn about food product dating –  know the difference between “sell by”, “best by” and “use by” labels.

Photo © Miroslav Beneda

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Sense Savings

How much water could you save by switching to Water Sense labeled faucets, toilets, shower heads, sprinkler heads or irrigation controllers?

Water Sense labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models. Saving you water and money.