According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nationwide more than 7 billion gallons of water a day go to landscape irrigation. Aside from that being a lot of water, as much as half of it is wasted because it falls on sidewalks or evaporates into the air before it reaches the ground.
Luckily, a few simple changes can help you save a precious resource and lower your bills. HouseLogic recommends that homeowners think of the acronym DIRTS (drip irrigation, recapture, timers and sensors) in order to remember steps to take for saving water and money while still maintaining a great-looking yard.
- Drip irrigation systems are long, thin plastic tubes with small fittings that release water, allowing you to send water only where you need it. A new drip system costs around $200 for a whole yard, or you can convert your existing in-ground sprinkler system. The cost is well worth it: Going from sprinklers to drip irrigation can cut lawn water use by up to 50 percent.
- Recapturing rainwater allows you to irrigate at no cost. To harvest rainwater, place a simple plastic or wooden drum, with a spigot near the bottom where you can attach your hose, underneath a downspout. A 60- gallon barrel costs only $75 to $150, and one inch of rain on a 1,000- square-foot roof provides 600 gallons of runoff.
- Putting your irrigation system on a timer will keep water waste to a minimum and can also help you comply with any local watering restrictions. Timer kits range from the simple to more sophisticated ones with sensors that adjust the water flow based on how much rain has fallen.