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I recently attended a workshop on water conservation. Depending on which part of the country you live in, water conservation and preservation are a hot subject. One of the presenters said that if every homeowner did just one thing, it could make an exponential difference toward ensuring we could pour fresh drinkable water every time we turn the tap. That one thing is installing one or more home rain barrels.

Our contacts at the Missouri Botanical Garden says a key to maximizing your property’s sustainability is conserving water and controlling water runoff.

Your Lawn

  • Water plants only when they need it. Lawns only need about one inch of rain a week. Set up a rain gauge to record weekly rainfall.
  • For lawns, use a low-angle sprayer instead of oscillating sprinklers, as they result in less water loss due to evaporation.
  • Position watering devices to prevent water loss by water falling in storm gutters, walkways or in the street.

Your Garden

  • Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of oscillating sprinklers, as they result in less water loss due to evaporation.
  • Position watering devices to prevent water loss by water falling in storm gutters, walkways or in the street.
  • Add mulch beds to help retain soil moisture.
  • Set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering plants.

Elsewhere on Your Property

  • Plant a rain garden or develop a swale to help retain water in the soil and prevent runoff.
  • Install a cistern to collect water to use for plants, washing clothes, bathing and other non-potable uses, as local ordinances allow.
  • Investigate the use of greywater use in your area.
  • Remove hard surfaces in your landscape to allow water to percolate into the soil and not run off in storm gutters. Replace with a porous surface if needed.
  • Incorporate “rainscaping” features to manage storm water.
  • Don’t use the hose to wash off your driveway, deck or walkway. Instead use a broom or an electric blower—gas-powered blowers produce more pollutants.

Source: MissouriBotanicalGarden.org

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