Monmouth County residents are facing sever water restrictions, near-drought conditions plague much of our state and many people’s lawns and gardens are an ugly shade of beige due to the lack of recent rain in the Garden State. Using water wisely is an absolute must, especially when facing the type of conditions we’re seeing now.
In fact, water quantity issues and challenges will be a growing challenge for New Jersey residents and folks around the country in the coming years. Our current levels and patterns of water usage are simply not sustainable. We use drinking water for our lawns, drink bottled water from plastic bottles and let rain water run off our lawns and into the sewer.
Highest consumption patterns are highest in summer; Here are a few things homeowners can do to use water more wisely, reduce their water bills and ensure lush landscaping regardless of rainfall levels.
Evaluate Water Usage, Needs and Goals – How do you and your family use water on a daily basis? How much water do you use in an average week? Do you use water to wash cars with? Do you drink tap water? These and other questions must be considered in order to best understand how you use water, how you could use water and what makes the most sense for your family and your home.
Increase Water Efficiency – Consider using low-flow shower-heads and toilets. These are two of the largest water wasters in most homes. Low-flow equipment is affordable and can be installed by many DIYers. Evaluating your water usage and increasing basic water efficiency in your home are good first steps to using water wisely.
Install a Rain Barrel – Rain barrels are usually the most cost-effective way to start saving water at your home. They can be used to for irrigating plants and shrubs close to the home. Rain barrels are prone to low water pressure so if you want to deliver rain water to parts of your landsaping further away from the barrel, an accessory pump can be added to improve water pressure. Newer rain barrels come in various colors and styles, some that can be aesthetically pleasing and combine well with your lawn and landscaping.
Use Greywater – Greywater systems are experiencing a surge in interest and increased installations across the country. Greywater recycling filters and re-use shower, laundry and dishwater water for irrigation and other non-potable uses. They require a larger up-front investment but will pay big dividends for many years to come. The best time to install a greywater recycling system is before the home is built.
Evaluate Drinking Water Usage – Evaluating how a home uses drinking water for consumption and other applications is crucial to saving and better using water. Many homeowners use drinking water to water their lawns simply because they don’t think that there are other options. Additionally, many families are buying plastic bottles of drinking water,most of which comes from the same municipal sources as the water in their home. Buying and drinking water in plastic bottles is extremely expensive and comes with huge environmental impacts. Whole-house treatment systems, water filtration systems, potential health effects – how you feel; glass bottles – does not taint or leech, Testing/screening could be important. Treatment measures and technology are continuously evolving. Depends on what your level of comfort is, what you and your family want.
Become a Rainwater Recycler – You already recycle plastic, glass & paper, why not rainwater! Storm-water sheet flow is already touted by many as being the primary source of non-point source pollutants. So why not capture that rainwater that falls on your house and put it to good use by re-using it for irrigation, topping off your pool or as part of a water garden. There are many types of larger-scale water storage devices that are affordable, easy to install and do a wealth of good for the environment and your property.
Save Money, The Environment and Our Children – Our pocketbooks and wallets feel the impact of our water usage decisions first where using less water means lower water bills. But long-range planning and thinking about how you’ll use water in the months and years ahead can be educational, enlightening and help preserve our environment. In many cases, it can also mean a more comfortable home and a happier, healthier family. But ultimately, it’s our children who will benefit from good water stewardship now. That’s the best reason to help conserve our most precious natural resource.