Water conservation comes naturally when everyone is aware of its importance. Water is becoming a precious resource and is becoming more expensive to produce clean, safe water. Whether you are on a municipal or an individual domestic water supply, water conservation is a wise practice.
Here are some reasons why you might want to use less water:
- to save money on your water bills
- to save money on your power bills by using less energy to heat and pump water
- to delay or prevent the expansion of costly water and wastewater treatment plants which can save money on taxes
- to be a good environmental steward
Water conservation lets us do all the things we did before – only with less water. It’s a matter of finding ways to stop wasting it.
Did You Know?
- A tap leaking one drop of water per second wastes more than 25 L of water a day which is 9,000 L a year!
- A five minute shower with a standard showerhead uses 100 L of water.
- A five minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses 35 L of water.
- About 75% of indoor home water use occurs in our bathrooms and toilets are the single largest water users. Toilets use over 40% more water than needed!
Water Conservation Tips
In the Bathroom:
- Have showers instead of baths and keep them short (five minutes).
- Install low-flow showerheads.
- Use an aerator and a water-flow reducer attachment.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
- Repair any toilet tank, bowl or base leaks. You can check the tank for leaks by adding food colouring to the water tank and observing whether it spreads to the bowl without flushing.
- Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
- Install a low-flush toilet (that uses six litres or less per flush), or place a toilet insert or weighted plastic bottle filled with water in the water tank.
- Rinse your razor in a sink filled with a few inches of warm water.
In the Kitchen:
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
- Wash vegetables in a sink filled with a few inches of water instead of under the tap.
- Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads.
Around the House and Outside:
- Repair leaky faucets and always turn off your taps tightly so they don’t drip. Even a small drip can waste tons of water.
- Insulate hot water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation to avoid wasting water as it heats up.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it, provide a deep soak and avoid the heat of the day or windy days.
- Add organic matter around shrubs and flower beds to help increase absorption and water retention.
- Don’t continually run the hose while washing the car.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
Going Green with Lawn Care
Did you know that a half-acre lawn produces more than 2 tons or nearly 100 bags of grass clippings each year?
Think of all the time, money and effort it would take to bag all those clippings. Why go through all that hassle when it’s really not necessary? Two tons of grass clippings per household with in the Village does not seem to be a lot for a year of mowing. With landfill cost of $67.00 per ton and approximately 1440 households the potential cost could be as high as $193,000.00 per year.
You can have a healthy green lawn by leaving grass clippings where they fall!
It’s simple… Grass clippings are actually beneficial to your lawn if handled properly. By using a mulching mower, you will: have a healthier lawn, save on fertilizer costs and save over 30% of the time involved in cutting your yard. Mulched grass clippings recycle the fertilizer you have already applied to your yard. In addition, the clippings can supply about 30% of the nitrogen your lawn needs to keep green and healthy. Grass leaf is nearly 90% water and it decomposes in just a couple of weeks. Consequently, leaving the mulched clippings in your yard just returns the minerals and nutrients to the soil; and, nitrogen is released as the leaf decomposes.
“Don’t Trash Grass”
The key word is “less”
…less fertilizer, less water, less work, and best of all, less waste! Recycling clippings back into the lawn requires less effort than disposing of them as waste. No one has to handle the clippings – not you, not your lawn care professional and not the waste management crew. You can reduce your mowing time by nearly 40 percent by not bagging, and spend less money on fertilizer and trash bags. And by not trashing grass, you’ll be doing your part for the environment by reducing waste! If you follow these “Don’t Trash Grass” mowing, fertilizing and watering guidelines, not only will you have a healthy lawn, but you’ll never have to bag grass clippings again!
During summer months, 20-30 percent of residential wastes consist of grass clippings. Not only does this greatly increase the cost of waste disposal, but also packs landfills with valuable organic materials that are 100 percent recyclable. Grass clippings less than one inch in length filter down to the soil surface and decompose relatively quickly. Longer clippings have a tendency to remain above the lawn where they appear unsightly and can shade or smother the grass beneath. These clippings need to be removed to avoid both unsightliness and lawn damage.
Regular mowing with a sharp mower is essential for reducing the need to collect clippings. It is important to mow often enough so that no more than one-third of the vertical grass height is removed with each cutting. For example, if the desired height is two inches, cut the grass when it is no more than three inches high. Removing only one-third of the green growth is particularly important when using a “mulching” or “recycler” type mower
Cutting the grass regularly will allow you to leave clippings on the lawn most or all of the time. Increasing the mowing height by 1/2 inch during the summer can improve the lawn’s ability to tolerate stress. Mowing infrequently damages the lawn by removing too much of the plant at once. A substantial amount of stem tissue is removed, while proper mowing primarily removes leaves. Because of their toughness, stems left on the lawn will contribute to thatch accumulation. When mowed regularly, clippings filter down into the grass, decompose rapidly, and recycle nutrients back into the lawn. Excessive watering can lead to disease and other undesirable conditions. As with heavy applications of nitrogen early in the spring, this can weaken the lawn and diminish the benefit of applied fertilizers.
For those who still want to bag your clippings then grass clippings can provide effective mulch around garden plants and between rows of flowers, vegetables, and small fruits. Mulching helps to reduce weeds, conserve moisture, and modify the soil temperature. However, care should be taken to avoid mulching too thickly. Excessive mulch can inhibit moisture and oxygen penetration into the soil, and may produce offensive odors.
Composting involves mixing grass clippings (as well as other plant materials) with soil to allow micro-organisms to decompose them. Clippings can be composted in the backyard, and requires aeration, moisture, and enough time to avoid foul odors. As additions to the compost pile, grass clippings are excellent because of their relatively high nitrogen content. They should not be the only compost component, however. Due to their tendency to mat, grass clippings are difficult to compost if they are layered too thickly.
In general, grass clippings should make up no more than one-half (by volume) of the material in the pile. Watch a compost pile containing a large proportion of grass and then turn it if the pile begins to compact or emit an odor. When you add grass clippings to an existing compost pile, turn them into the pile within 24 hours.
For more information on Going Green Lawn Care, contact our Public Works Dept., local nursery, local lawn maintenance contractors or visit the many sites on the internet.
As of December 16, 2009 homeowners in New Brunswick will no longer be able to buy or use products that meet the criteria of the Over-the-Counter banned list. If you cannot find your product on the ‘Over-the-Counter banned list’ and are unsure whether the product is permitted, you may call the Department of Environment and Local Government, Stewardship Branch to get clarification at 1-800-561-4036 or email at email@example.com
Other resources regarding Pesticide Use:
NB Dept. of Environment – What You Need to Know about Pest Management
Government of Canada – Pesticides and Pest Management
Government of Canada – How to Have a Healthy Lawn