Spring weather can either bring loads of rain or be the start to a dry summer. After an unusually dry summer years ago, I decided to never complain about rainy weather. It was miserable. My garden and flower pots looked pitiful and I felt guilty when I watered them. Yep, I’m grateful now for wet weather that shores up the water tables that help us get through the dry seasons.
According to the National Drought Mitigation Center and CNN, nearly 12% of the United States experienced exceptional drought conditions in July 2011 and another 40% of the U.S. experienced abnormal drought conditions.
The following steps will not only help you conserve water but also save money on your water bill. This list is a win-win!
7 Ways to Conserve Water and Save Money
1. Conserve rainwater.
I bought my rain barrel from my county’s conservation district many years ago for $25. There is now a waitlist and the cost has increased to $55.
Several years ago, rain barrels weren’t quite so popular, but many stores now carry them. Store-bought rain barrels can set you back between $100-$200, so it will take time until a store-bought version pays for itself from the water saved. But, if you are a do-it-yourselfer, this could be a great project to try. A quick Google or Pinterest search will help you find some ideas.
I use the rain barrel to water my vegetable garden, the landscape, and my containers. At times the rain will get scarce in July and my barrel will dry up. Thankfully, it fills up again rather quickly even after a small rain. There are times during a rainy spring that I wish I had room for a second barrel.
2. Use water collected from dehumidifier to water your garden and flower pots.
In the summer, our basement gets very damp and musty, so we run a dehumidifier constantly. It fills up quickly on sweltering days and I use that water for my flower pots.
3. Trap Water
When waiting for the hot water to heat up from the faucet, trap water in a jug or bucket and use it to water your garden and flower containers.
4. Use the water from steaming vegetables and/or corn on the cob to water your garden.
I always seem to remember to do this at the moment I am pouring the vegetables through a colander. I need to get better at this tip too.
5. Choose drought-tolerant plants for your landscape.
This is something we considered when we designed our front lawn landscape. A quick Google search will help you find a list of these plants for your garden zone or ask the staff at your local garden nursery.
6. Water your garden in the early morning or evening to avoid evaporation from the mid-day sun. Also, water at the root of the plant, not from above the plant. Plants absorb water at the roots, so watering the leaves is wasting water.
7. Limit shower time.
This one is hard for me since long, hot showers can be so relaxing, especially after my morning run. This Shower Water and Energy Use Calculator will give you an idea of how much water you are using based on your own personal inputs.
What tips do you have?
I’m ashamed to admit, but I am more cautious about our water use in the summer. I really should be conserving year-round, especially since we pay for our water. Do you live in a part of the country that is suffering from a drought right now? What tips do you have to conserve water? Please share with us in the comments.