Outdoor Water Conservation

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Using water outdoors is always challenging. Ensuring that your landscape is healthy and vibrant can be tricky while trying to use water as efficiently as possible. Please review the information below to learn new ideas about saving water outdoors.

Click here for the current mandatory watering schedule.

Water Efficient Car Washing Practices

  1. Washing your car at home can use a significant amount of water. Without a hose nozzle, a running garden hose can waste up to 9 gallons of water per minute!

  2. Under SSWD's Current Water Use Restrictions, "Car washing is only permitted using a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle and a bucket.

  3. Consider taking your car to a commercial car wash that utilizes the latest technology to recycle water onsite, and use very little new water to wash cars.

Water Efficient Landscape Practices

  1. Water landscaping and plants only when necessary. Do not over-water.

  2. During rainy weather, turn off your sprinkler timer. Adjust your sprinkler timers seasonally to water with the weather.

  3. Install rain shut off devices to prevent watering when it rains. Rebates are available on our Water Conservation Rebates page.

  4. Different soils absorb and hold water at different rates. Learn your landscapes soil type and avoid runoff and over watering by setting automatic sprinklers shut off once the soil is saturated. If your lawn requires more water, set your timer to run more often with shorter run times. This type of cycle-and-soak method of watering will help avoid water waste like gutter flooding. With manual sprinklers, set a timer to help you remember when to turn off the water.

  5. If your landscape has a large slope, consider the cycle-and-soak method of watering.

    • Turn on your sprinklers and time how long it takes for the water to begin to run off onto the side walk.
    • Schedule your sprinkler run time to 1 minute LESS than the time it took for the water to run off. Example: If your time to runoff is 3 minutes, schedule that zone or 2 minutes.
    • If your landscape requires 10 minutes of water (click here to calculate your sprinkler run time), schedule that zone to run for 2 minutes, 5 different times on your watering day within the watering window.
    • Be sure to leave about 5-10 minutes between run times to give the water enough time to soak into the landscape.
    • Repeat this process for each zone.
    • You can also consider transitioning your slopped areas to River Friendly Landscape that will make your landscape beautiful and watering much easier.

  6. Dethatch and/or aerate compacted soils in your lawn so that applied water penetrates deep into the root zone. After aerating, remember to apply a think layer of compost to fill in the holes. Compost will add nutrients to your soil that will make your landscape plants more healthy.

  7. Use compost or mulch to prevent runoff and to retain moisture in around plants, in flowerbeds, around trees, and/or any non-turf landscaped areas.

    • Adding 2-3 inches of mulch around trees, shrubs and flowers can save 15 gallons of water each time you water (for about a 500 square foot landscape area).

  8. Make sure sprinklers cover the landscaped areas without spraying onto paved areas or running water onto paved areas or gutters.

    • More than 40 gallons can be saved every time you water. This will also reduce the amount of fertilizers and pesticides that are run into the local storm drains.

  9. Avoid watering on windy days. Water will drift from the intended watering area. Water also evaporates faster and is often blown onto paved areas.

  10. Watering during the cool parts of the day will help prevent water loss and evaporation.

    • Watering in the cool parts of the day can save up to 50 gallons of water each time you water.

  11. During summer months set the mower blade higher. Taller grass will shade the soil allowing for more moisture retention.

  12. Use a shutoff nozzle on your garden hose. Customers can pick up a nozzle at SSWD's administrative office.

    • Using a shutoff nozzle can save up to 5 gallons per minute.

  13. Use a broom instead of water to clean driveways, walkways or patios. This helps keep pollutants such as grease, oils and pesticides that accumulates on driveways from running off into creeks and rivers.

    • Using a broom to clean hardscape can save up to 5 gallons per minute.

  14. Visit a local water efficient landscape garden for ideas on plants that require less water or are drought tolerant. Discover plants that grow best and thrive in our community.

    • SSWD Water Efficient Gardens

  15. Repair leaks and broken sprinkler heads.

  16. Quickly repairing leaks can save 20 gallons per day, per leak.

  17. Plant low-water use trees and plants.

    • Planting low water use trees and plants can save 9 gallons per day, per 1,000 square feet.

  18. Install a water-efficient drip irrigation system for your trees, shrubs and flowers.

    • Installing drip irrigation can save 15 gallons each time you water (for about 500 square feet landscape area).

  19. Reduce each irrigation cycle by two minutes (five stations, watering three times weekly) or eliminate one cycle per week.

    • Reducing each irrigation cycle by two minutes can save 80 gallons per day.

  20. Install a Water-Sense labeled, "Smart" irrigation controller that adjusts watering based upon weather, soil type, sun exposure (for example, full sun or part shade) and plant type.