Outdoor Water Conservation

To Help Save Water Outdoors
Automatic Irrigation Systems
An automatic sprinkler system can be set to water the lawn for a specified amount of time. This saves your time and waters the lawn evenly. If you don't have an automatic sprinkling system, set a kitchen timer. A lot of water can be wasted in a short period of time if you forget to turn your sprinklers off. Outdoor faucets can flow at rates as high as 300 gallons per hour.

Spot Water
Drier areas require more water than areas where water settles. If necessary, water dry areas by hand.

Test Soil Moisture
Water only when a soil probe shows dry soil or a screwdriver is difficult to push into the soil.

Water the Lawn
Step on the grass; if it springs back up when you move your foot, it does not need water.

Watering the Pavement
Position sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn or garden, not in areas where it is not needed. Also avoid watering when it is windy. Wind causes water to evaporate quickly and blows water onto areas where it is not needed. Remember, if it doesn't grow, don't water it!

Water Without Waste
Interrupt watering when puddles or runoff occur. This allows the water to penetrate into the soil before resuming irrigation.

Drought Resistant Trees & Plants
Landscape with plants that require less water. These plants can be very attractive and can survive drought better than turf. Rocks, gravel, benches, and deck areas can all be used to creatively decorate the yard.

Drip Irrigation Systems
Drip systems permit water to flow slowly to roots, encouraging strong root systems. These systems will also cut down evaporation.

Weeds are water thieves and will rob your plants of water and nutrients. Spot spray or remove weeds as they appear.

Less Than Lush Lawn

Grass will naturally go dormant during periods of drought, but will readily regenerate when water becomes available. Reduce traffic on stressed turf areas if possible.


Match the fertilizer to the plant requirement. Fertilizer applications require additional water. Excess fertilizer stimulates top growth, often to the detriment of the root system. Learn to accept turf grasses with low water needs.

Mow as infrequently as possible. Mowing puts the grass under additional stress that requires more water.

Mow higher than normal, longer leaf surfaces promote deeper rooting and shade the root zone. Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in one mowing. Return mulched clippings to the lawn.

Use a Broom
Sweeping the driveway and sidewalk will get them clean enough without wasting gallons of water.

Washing the Car
Don't let the water run while washing the car. Get the car wet, then turn off the water while you soap the car down using a bucket of soapy water. Turn on the water again for a final rinse. Use the bucket of soapy water on the flower bed or garden.

Don't use the sprinklers just to cool off or for play. Running through water from a hose or sprinkler is fun but wastes gallons of water.

Check for Leaks
Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, and faucets. All leaks cause water to be wasted. Repair or replace any equipment leaking water.

Swimming Pool
Covering a swimming pool will help reduce evaporation. An average sized pool can use about 1,000 gallons of water per month if left uncovered. A pool cover can cut the loss by up to 90%.

Shut-off nozzles completely turn off the water when you are not using it.

Sprinkler Heads

Move sprinkler heads away from curbs or sidewalks. A mulch, bark, or rock area at least 8 inches wide adjacent to sidewalks and curbs will help eliminate water waste.