With the Labor Day weekend forecast promising sun, heat and a possibility of rain, one last attempt for summer fun will be on all of our minds. The extra day off is a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors so why not consider doing some of these quick and easy water conservation projects to ensure less water usage and more money in the wallet next summer. These DIY projects require so little effort that there will be plenty of time for the beach and barbecues!
1. Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels save water and decrease stormwater runoff. Placed at the base of a downspout, a typical rain barrel can hold 55-75 gallons of water. Collected rainwater provides a ready water supply for watering gardens, washing cars and much more! Follow these simple steps to create your own rain barrel.
2. Test your soil. Fertilizer contains nutrients needed by plants to grow and survive. But when nutrients travel into our waterways via stormwater runoff they also fuel the growth of algal blooms. Algal blooms remove oxygen from the water and prevent sunlight from reaching aquatic vegetation resulting in widespread damage to aquatic ecosystems. By testing your soil, you can see what nutrients your lawn really needs and find out if fertilizing is required. Soil test kits can be picked up at garden stores or at a local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. To do your part, put your soil to the test!
3. Add mulch around flowerbeds and tree trunks. Just two inches of mulch can substantially reduce water loss and maintain soil moisture around plant roots. Mulching also helps keep out pesky weeds and requires little more than mulch and a shovel. Learn more about earth-friendly landscaping in the askHRgreen lawn and garden section.
Indoor Projects (in case of rain)
4. Fix a leaky toilet. Leaking toilets can easily waste 100 to 250 gallons per day. To check for a slow leak, add some food coloring or dye tablets to the water inside the tank and wait 30 minutes. If the color seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Repair it and save money and water. Visit the askHRgreen page on smart indoor water use for more indoor water conservation tips.
5. Winterize your pipes. Prevent the high cost of repairs and water loss due to burst pipes from cold weather with a little preparation. Some simple ways to winterize your pipes include insulating exposed pipes, replacing any wet insulation, and wrapping outside faucets. Find out more on getting your pipes ready for winter on the askHRgreen winterize your pipes page.
This blog post was submitted by Erica Roberts, Media & Communications Coordinator with Virginia Beach Public Utilities.