With warm weather expected to continue through the official start of summer on Wednesday, the San Diego County Water Authority is reminding residents of simple steps for saving water during the hottest, driest months of the year.
The region has a highly reliable water supply going into the peak water-use season, thanks to diversified water supply sources developed by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies and heavy rain and snow last winter that broke drought conditions across most of the state. But NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts above-average temperatures across the West during July, August and September, underscoring the importance of residents and businesses to practice efficient water use.
The good news is the region is continuing to Live WaterSmart no matter the weather. Although state-mandated water use reductions in San Diego County ended a little more than a year ago, regional water use from June 2016 through May 2017 was down 18 percent compared to the same months in 2013.
“Strategic investments in a diversified water supply, record precipitation and widespread adoption of WaterSmart practices mean the region’s water supplies are in great shape,” said Jim Madaffer, vice chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “But repeated drought cycles have taught us to always value every gallon, and there are numerous easy ways to continue that commitment this summer.”
Here are the Top 10 tips for using water efficiently this summer:
- Check it out. Inspect irrigation equipment to eliminate overspray. Monitor soil moisture using a spade or soil probe, and only water if the top inch of soil is dry. Irrigate turf if it doesn’t spring back when stepped on. Better yet, upgrade to a “smart” irrigation controller that automatically adjusts water times based on weather conditions. Rebates for a variety of irrigation equipment are at WaterSmartSD.org.
- Let it sink in. Irrigate mature trees once or twice a month using a soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – not at the base of the tree. Use a hose faucet timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering. Young trees need more frequent irrigation; consult an arborist or tree-care manual for details.
- Maintain you mulch (and compost). Keeping a 3-inch layer of mulch around trees and plants reduces runoff, helps control weeds and protects soil from direct sunlight and evaporation. Keep mulch at least a foot away from tree trunks and several inches from the crowns of plants. Also, add compost to increase soil nutrients.
- Drink responsibly. Keep drinking water cool in your refrigerator to avoid running the tap. Use refillable water bottles instead of buying disposable plastic bottles.
- Put a lid on it. Pool and spa covers reduce evaporation, lower pool heating costs and keep dirt and other debris out of the pool.
- Take a break. New plants need more water to get established, so wait until fall and winter for planting to take advantage of cooler temperatures and rain.
- Go to summer school. Get started planning your WaterSmart landscape by surfing WaterSmart Landscaping Videos On Demand from the comfort of your beach chair or sofa. Learn more at Landscapemakeover.WaterSmartSD.org.
- Let your lawn grow. Set your mower to leave grass at least 3 inches high because taller blades reduce evaporation up to 80 percent and protect roots from heat.
- Keep it clean. Patronize car washes that recycle water and save at least 15 gallons each time. When washing at home, use a hose nozzle that shuts off when you release the handle.
- Rinse right. Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of in running water. Afterward, pour the collected water on a plant.
More information on how residents and business can use water efficiently, along with rebates, classes and other water-saving resources, is at WaterSmartSD.org.