Warmer days bring sprouting lawns, budding flowers—and the need for regular watering to keep everything green through the summer months.
In drought-prone Colorado, this can be a concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homeowners use two to four times more water during the summer than they use the rest of the year. Experts estimate that half of that water is lost to evaporation, wind, or runoff.
“And those with timed outdoor watering systems often forget to monitor the weather or set their irrigation controllers back in the fall, leading to more overwatering during the cooler months.”
How can you meet your yard’s needs without wasting this precious resource?
The EPA and other experts suggest the following:
- Check the grass before watering. If you step on it and it springs back, it probably doesn’t need water.
- Buy a soil moisture sensor. It is an inexpensive investment and can tell you how much moisture remains at the plant’s roots and whether watering is needed.
- Instead of hosing off driveways and sidewalks, use a broom to sweep them clean.
- Check for leaks at your spigot and throughout your sprinkler system. Fixing them will not only save water but decrease your water bill.
- Water in the early morning or evening, once the sun sets. This avoids water being lost to evaporation in the hottest parts of the day.
- Check to see that the water is hitting green areas, rather than driveways or sidewalks.
- Turn off your sprinkler system when it’s raining or windy.
- Adjust your sprinkler system every month to changing conditions. This is particularly important as fall sets in and water needs decrease.
- Let your grass grow longer. The taller grass shades its roots, helping the lawn retain moisture.
- Install an automatic rain shut-off device. Costing around $200, the device can be installed on your sprinkler controller. It tells the controller to stop watering when a certain amount of rain has fallen.
Note that every city in the metro area has its own rules for watering during the summer. Here are links to some of those schedules: