Water-Saving Ways To Keep Your Bill Low

Mark Peterson

Dry, hot summers are a fact of life around here. But maintaining a healthy landscape while reducing your water use is easier than you think. Here are a few ways to do that.

The hot, dry weather isn’t likely to be going anywhere anytime soon. After all, this is South Texas and drought is a fact of life.

As the summer heat lingers on, the best thing to do is focus on maintaining a healthy landscape while reducing water use.

That task is easier than you think, especially since SAWS uses an eight-tier pricing structure to encourage water conservation. That means you save money quickly with small reductions in water use. It also means the more water you use, the higher per-gallon cost you’ll pay.

But let’s focus on using less water. Here are a few ways to do that.

  • Water according to the Garden Geek’s weekly recommendations. These are determined by combining science with years of experience.
  • Reduce sprinkling or irrigation run times in shaded areas. Shady areas require only 50-60 percent of the water sunny areas need.
  • If you have an in-ground irrigation system, switch it from automatic to manual. This allows you to water only when absolutely necessary. Remember that over-watering leads to fungi such as brown patch or grey leaf spot disease.
  • Run your system briefly during the day — within permitted hours, of course — to find leaks and inefficiencies. Need a hand? Call 704-SAVE for a free irrigation consultation to help you find those leaks and check your run times.
  • Apply 1-2 inches of mulch to beds. Mulch reduces moisture loss and soil temperature so roots can grow and find water.
  • Use wetting agents to increase water infiltration. Wetting agents can be as simple as compost leachate or a 2-liter soda with a little dish soap mixed together with water in a 5-gallon bucket.
  • Reduce lawn area. Grass uses the most water in the landscape. Limit the lawn, lower your water bill. It’s that simple.
  • Reduce sprays, rotors and sprinklers. Anytime water is sprayed upward it’s lost to evaporation. Consider drip irrigation, which can reduce water usage when properly designed and installed.
  • Don’t water established native plants and trees; they don’t need supplemental water to survive.

Above all, with regards to turf, brown does not necessarily mean dead, just dormant. All it takes is a little precipitation and the grass greens-up again.

Of course, if you decide it’s time to give up the grass, Garden Style San Antonio has no shortage of ideas for what to put in its place.

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