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Outdoor Water Conservation

Sprinklers running in yard

In Cobb County, water use increases by about 60% in the spring and summer months. This spike in usage is due to increased water use outdoors, mainly in irrigation use. As temperatures increase and rainfall decreases, irrigation of lawns and plants tends to increase as well. This can consume a lot of water and rapidly increase your water bill. There are simple ways to reduce your outdoor water use and still maintain your landscape. 

  1. Timing Is Key: No matter what kind of yard or landscape you have, it's important to know exactly how much water your plants need before you turn on the sprinkler. Smart watering practices reduce runoff and save you money.
    1. Only water before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.. Avoiding watering in the heat of the day, reduces the chance of evaporation before water even reaches your thirsty plants.
    2. Group plants with similar water need together. Proper watering of one plant could result in underwatering a different plant right next to it.
    3. Established landscaping typically requires only about an inch of water a week, including rainfall. Water deeply once a week to encourage deeper root growth and stronger plants.
  2. Manage your irrigation system: Irrigation systems require routine maintenance and inspections, like any other part of your home. Mismatched sprinkler heads, over spray onto driveways and sidewalks, broken sprinklers, leaking valves, and cracked pipes can easily waste thousands of gallons of water a month. A well-maintained irrigation system can ensure the water you do use is not wasted.
    1. Set sprinklers to keep the water on the landscape and off the pavement. Lots of water is wasted by poorly designed or neglected sprinkler systems that spray sidewalks, driveways, and the street. Save water by directing sprinklers toward the landscape.
    2. Have your irrigation system audited by a certified irrigation auditor and repair and replace damaged and leaking parts immediately.
    3. Use the right hose. Cap off irrigation to established shrub beds, they rarely need supplemental irrigation. Use micro irrigation, also known as drip irrigation or soaker hoses, for trees, gardens, and shrubs. Micro irrigation applies water slowly and directly to the plants’ roots where the water is needed most.
  3. Create a Water-Wise Landscape: A water-wise landscape require less water by
    1. Selecting native plants that are designed to flourish in our area means less watering and maintaining your yard even during dry periods and during droughts.
    2. Use at least 2-inches of coarse-textured mulch around plantings. Be careful not to mound mulch around the trunks of trees and leave at least a 2-inch diameter around the trunk free of mulch to prevent disease.
    3. Prepare your bed before planting. Amending the top 12 inches of your soil will create healthy roots and happy plants. Preparing the soil will not only help keep out weeds, but increase the ability of the soil to retain water.

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