Outside the House

Cars & Driveways

When washing the car, use soap and water from a bucket. Make sure to use a hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle for the final rinse. Use water saved from indoor use, or use a commercial car wash that recycles its wash water. Use a broom, never a hose, to clean paved areas such as your driveway.

Lawn, Landscape, & Irrigation

Install irrigation systems with automatic timers. Program the timers to turn the irrigation system on and off. Teach the family how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system to avoid watering on windy days or during periods of heavy rain. They following are more tips for outdoor water conservation:

  • Water landscaping only when needed. Typically this is no more than twice weekly unless the weather is hot and dry. Adjust your irrigation schedule to accommodate changes in seasonal water demand. Always water during the cool time of the day between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. to minimize evaporation. Early morning is best because it is less likely to encourage the growth of fungus. Many experts say the best time to water is between midnight and 4 a.m.
  • Properly adjust and maintain your irrigation system. Make sure to cover your landscape evenly and that only your lawn and planting beds are watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Minimize grass areas in your yard. Less grass means less water demand. Replace with low-water use landscaping.
  • Use a rain gauge to determine how much rain or irrigation your yard has received.
  • Raise the blade on your lawn mower. Blades should be raised to at least three inches high, or to the highest level. Closely cut grass makes the roots work harder, requiring more water.
  • Use native or other low water use plants for landscaping. Check with your local nursery for the best native or low-water use trees, shrubs and plants. If you live near a hillside or open space use fire-resistant plants, which typically also require very little water.
  • Use a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch helps to maintain moisture, helps reduce evaporation and erosion, provides essential nutrients and discourages the growth of weeds.
  • Use the principles of Xeriscape (pronounced ZERE-AH-SCAPE). This landscaping method uses native and drought-tolerant plants, mulch to hold in moisture, and grouping plants according to your water and light needs.
  • Design landscapes appropriate for the water-use zone.

Leaks, Water Pressure, & Air Cooling Systems

  • Check and fix leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings. Seek out and repair any pipeline and irrigation system leaks.
  • Monitor your water pressure. Water should enter your house at about 45-60 pounds per square inch. Monitor occasionally with a water pressure gauge.
  • Check your evaporative coolers annually. Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance check-up for more water efficient cooling.
  • Use the water from your evaporative air conditioners. Direct the water drain line to a flowerbed, tree base or lawn.