How to con­serve wa­ter when tem­per­a­tures rise

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Spring and sum­mer are syn­ony­mous with in­creased hours of sun­light, warm tem­per­a­tures and, of­ten­times, an in­creased re­liance on wa­ter to feed recre­ational pur­suits and lawn and gar­den needs.

The Wa­ter In­for­ma­tion Pro­gram states that 3.9 tril­lion gal­lons of wa­ter are con­sumed in the United States each month and the av­er­age per­son uses 176 gal­lons of wa­ter per day. Wa­ter con­ser­va­tion may be es­sen­tial when the risk for weather-re­lated drought looms. Prac­tic­ing year­round con­ser­va­tion ef­forts can help en­sure smart us­age of lo­cal wa­ter­sheds, lakes and reser­voirs and help main­tain these wa­ter sources for years to come. It also helps the av­er­age per­son re­duce his or her car­bon foot­print while sav­ing peo­ple a lit­tle money along the way.

Ex­plore these wa­ter-sav­ing tips to make smart use of wa­ter.

• Col­lect shower wa­ter in a bucket while you are wait­ing for the wa­ter to heat up. Use that wa­ter to ir­ri­gate plants around the house or even out­doors.

• Check for leaks around the house. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toi­let tank and see if it spreads into the bowl within a halfhour. If it does, that means a leak is present and gal­lons of wa­ter may be be­ing wasted.

• Keep a pitcher of drink­ing wa­ter in the re­frig­er­a­tor. This way, when you come in­side from the heat you’ll have a cold drink at the ready and will not have to run the tap to fill a glass.

• In­stall a lawn ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem so that you can max­i­mize the amount of wa­ter that gets to the roots. Ar­range the sprin­kler heads so sur­round­ing drive­ways and side­walks are not get­ting “wa­tered” as well.

• Ap­ply the min­i­mum amount of fer­til­izer re­quired, as fer­til­iz­ers can in­crease wa­ter con­sump­tion.

• Aer­ate lawns and gar­den beds so the wa­ter reaches the roots rather than run­ning off the sur­face of the dirt.

• Em­ploy rain bar­rels to col­lect rain wa­ter runoff. Rain bar­rels can help to re­pur­pose rain wa­ter rather than sim­ply al­low­ing it to wash into storm drains.

• Re­duce re­liance on sprin­klers and hoses for sum­mer re­cre­ation. In­stead, rely on pools and other de­vices that use re­cir­cu­lat­ing pumps.

• Home­own­ers with pools can limit how of­ten they back­wash their pool fil­ters.

• So­lar pool cov­ers can­warm up pool wa­ter nat­u­rally and also re­duce the rate of wa­ter loss through evap­o­ra­tion.

• Ined­i­ble plants can ben­e­fit from the nu­tri­ent-rich wa­ter si­phoned out of a home aquar­ium when clean­ing the tank.

• The con­ser­va­tion guide Earth Easy says one way to cut down on wa­ter use is to turn off the shower af­ter soap­ing up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower can use be­tween 20 and 40 gal­lons of wa­ter.

• Add or­ganic mat­ter to the land­scape to in­crease wa­ter ab­sorp­tion and re­ten­tion. Top dress ar­eas as needed through­out the sea­son.

Wa­ter con­ser­va­tion ef­forts can help home­own­ers main­tain their lawns and gar­dens dur­ing heat waves and even save them a lit­tle money while ben­e­fit­ting the planet as well.

Cap­tion: Un­der­ground ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems can be more ef­fec­tive and eco-friendly than hoses for home­own­ers who want to main­tain lush lawns in spring and sum­mer.

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