Severe drought will cost California $2.7 billion in revenue and more than 18,600 jobs this year, by one account.
But its effects will be felt by most of us in the form of higher food prices, considering that California grows more than one-third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, according to CNN.
In central Pennsylvania, we’re in much better shape when it comes to rainfall, but there are pockets of short-term deficits. You can get a state-by-state perspective from the U.S. Drought Monitor, a national map released every Thursday that uses five classifications to illustrates drought conditions.
While Pennsylvania residents don’t face mandatory water restrictions like the ones put in place in California, watching your usage is good for the environment and can save you money.
Here are 12 water-saving tips courtesy of American Water:
1. Only water when needed: Depending on the weather or type of plant/turf, you may only need to water once or twice per week.
2. Water early in the morning or later in the day: Water when the sun is low to minimize evaporation.
3. Set your mower higher: Anything cut much less than 2 inches high is much more vulnerable to burnout, weeds, insects and disease. Try 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
4. Keep an eye on weather: If rain is in the forecast, turn off your automatic sprinkler. Better yet, you can install a rain sensor that will do it automatically.
5. Watch what you’re watering: Check sprinklers to be sure they are not wasting water on paved or unwanted areas. Reduce run times for shaded areas that may not need as much water.
6. Check for leaks and breaks: Do a periodic walkthrough of your landscaped area to make sure system pipes are in good condition.
7. Make use of rainwater: Water collected in rain barrels can be used later to water outdoor plants.
8. Sweep, don’t spray: Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, decks and sidewalks.
9. Mulch: Mulching beds can retain moisture and prevent weeds. Be careful not to over-mulch, which can stress plants. Two or three inches should do the job.
10. Use drought-resistant species: Native plants are adapted to local conditions and developed to thrive within them, requiring less maintenance and watering.
11. Let water do double duty: Bathe pets outdoors in areas that need water.
12. Car wash wisely: Washing your car with a bucket of soapy water uses far less water than leaving a hose running. If you go through a car wash, look for one that recycles the water.
Do you have any tips? If so, please share them in the comment section below.