The amount of water we use directly affects the amount of water in our environment. Conserving water helps maintain sustainable water supplies in the Assabet Watershed.
Learn about water conservation programs in your town
You can conserve water outdoors by:
Greatly reducing your outdoor watering in the summertime. This is when streams are at their most vulnerable and need that water. Your community may already institute summer watering restrictions. Consider a more natural, interesting, lower-maintenance alternative to the temperamental, thirsty green lawn. Most people plant Kentucky bluegrass, a mono-crop that is vulnerable to disease, grubs, etc., is ill-adapted to our climate, and needs lots of water to stay green. Follow the tips below and your yard will be the envy of your neighborhood. Read more about "green" lawn care.
For your lawn:
• Instead of planting Kentucky bluegrass, plant a grass seed mixture that includes hardy fescues.
• If you must water, water infrequently (once a week or less) but deeply (one inch). This will encourage the grass to grow deep roots, increasing its chances for survival in a drought. Use common sense - do not water after a heavy rainfall has given your lawn a good soaking.
• Turn off that automatic sprinkler!
• Plant a smaller lawn. Fill in with other kinds of cover, flowering plants, leafy plants, trees, rocks
• Mow high - let the grass blades grow to 2"
• Improve your soil with composted
• Test your soil and correct pH if needed. Read more.
• Let your lawn turn brown during a dry time - it's dormant, not dead, and should come back.
For the rest of your yard:
• Plant native, drought-tolerant plants.
• Connect a cistern or rainbarrels to your downspout and use roof runoff to water your garden.
• If you hire a landscaping professional, consider hiring an ecological landscaper to restore the natural ecology of your own personal landscape! The Ecological Landscaper Association (link below) can help you find landscapers in your area.
There are many sources of information about ecological lawncare and landscaping on the web, in books, and at garden centers. Here are a few websites to get you started:
• California Urban Water Conservation Council's (take the house tour and check out the exhaustive list of links)
• EPA's Green Landscaping with Native Plants
• EPA's Water Sense program
• Ecological Landscape Alliance
• Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) rainfall and drought status
• New England Wildflower Society (plant information)