HALIFAX/PLYMPTON– As of August 1, Plympton and Halifax are both under a drought watch, the middle of a 5-step scale to measure the severity of a drought. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation has these tips to reduce water usage during this unusually dry spell.
• Abide by local water-use restrictions
Limits on outdoor water use help to ensure that enough water is available for essential needs, including drinking water and fire protection. State permits require public water systems to implement stronger restrictions based on drought conditions.
• Minimize landscape water needs through water-smart landscaping principles:
1) Maintain healthy soils (a minimum of 6-inches in depth, where possible).
2) Choose native plants or plants and turf that need less water.
3) Group plants according to their water needs to maximize
efficiency of irrigation.
4) Minimize areas of turf grass.
5) Use mulch to reduce evaporation and moderate soil
6) Maintain turf grass at 2 1/2-3 inches to shade soil and deepen
7) Leave grass clippings on lawn to shade and return nutrients
• Most years, Massachusetts receives enough rain to supply all the water needed for a healthy, drought- resistant mature lawn or landscape, without the need for irrigation. Most lawns can survive extended dry periods without watering – they will turn brown, but revive once the rain returns. To keep an established lawn green, a maximum of one inch of water per week is enough. If there has been an inch of rain in the week, you don’t need to water. (Inexpensive rain gauges can be used to measure rain.)
• Irrigate efficiently, and only if necessary
1) Know plants’ water needs and avoid overwatering.
2) Don’t water 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
3) Water deeply and less often to encourage deep root growth.
4) Regularly inspect and maintain irrigation systems.
5) Use “smart” irrigation controllers that adjust for weather.
6) Use rain barrels to capture and reuse rainwater.
• Cover swimming pools when not in use to prevent evaporative losses.
• Sweep driveways, walks, patios, and other outdoor areas with a broom rather than hosing them off.
• Wash vehicles using a bucket and sponge, employing a hose with a shut-off nozzle for rinse only, or, if available, use a commercial car wash that recycles water (most do).
• Choose high-efficiency plumbing products and appliances.
• Fix leaks! Dripping faucets and leaking toilets, pipes, and appliances can add up to hundreds of gallons of water lost per week.
• Collect and reuse clean household water (water running while you wait for hot water to reach your faucet or shower; leftover water from steaming vegetables or boiling eggs, etc.) and use this to water plants.
• Create a kitchen compost bin as an alternative to using the garbage disposal.
• Turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving.
• Use water-saving showerheads and take shorter showers.
• Wash only full loads of laundry.