Did you know that irrigation accounts for more than half of Central Florida's total water consumption? How can you make a difference? Practicing water conservation in your yard is the best place to start. Remember: Over-watering is not only wasteful, it also promotes shallow root growth and makes your lawn more susceptible to insects and disease.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, it's important to check the system regularly (once every month or two) for leaks and broken sprinkler heads, making repairs promptly. Also check for signs of broken or leaky sprinkler system pipes by looking for muddy or overgrown areas of turf.
Make sure your sprinkler system's timer/controller is operating correctly, as you've programmed it, so that it operates on the right days, at the right times, for the right durations. A variety of factors can result in a malfunctioning sprinkler system, including lightning strikes and failing timer batteries. Many homeowners don't realize their sprinkler systems are malfunctioning because the systems are programmed to operate overnight and they never observe them running.
To avoid wasting water, please follow these important irrigation guidelines:
With a little bit of planning, homeowners can turn their landscaping projects into water-saving ventures. One of the most important steps in landscape design is putting the right plant in the right place.
Grouping plants together based on their water needs, not just their colors, is healthier for your plants and allows you to use water more efficiently.
Keep high-water use plants together in an "Oasis" area and locate the more drought tolerant species that will not need watering to the outer edges, or "Fringe", of the landscape. In between the "Oasis" and "Fringe" zones are the "Transition" plantings, which should be tough, durable plants that need some water about once a week.
Use good horticultural practices to keep your landscape looking its best. Improve sandy sites with organic matter before adding plants and remember to use mulch. When water is needed, wet the soil and then wait until it starts to dry before irrigating again. Only fertilize if you want growth and if adequate moisture is available.
In the beginning, all waterwise plantings will need irrigating until their roots take hold. Once that happens, watering can be reduced or even eliminated for some plantings. Check with your local nursery to learn about the variety of waterwise plants available in your area or visit Florida-Friendly Landscaping for a database of plants.
Below are just a few examples of plants that can be used to make your yard more waterwise:
In a typical house, leaky toilets and faucets can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day, and that means unnecessary water and sewer charges. To help you identify and repair leaks, OUC offers the following advice:
Always repair leaks promptly. If you can't make the repairs yourself, call a licensed plumbing contractor.
Source for "Leak Facts": American Leak Detection
After air conditioning, your pool can be the second largest energy hog in your home. The average pool can lose up to 7,000 gallons of water to evaporation annually. Follow these simple steps to reduce maintenance and utility costs:
As Central Florida continues to grow, so does the demand for clean, safe water from the Floridan Aquifer. To prepare for our region's future needs, OUC has taken a leadership role in the search for innovative, reliable solutions while still providing clean, great-tasting water for our customers today.
To identify solutions for the short- and long-term protection of our vital water resources, OUC is working closely with water management districts, other utilities, and federal and state regulatory agencies like the EPA's WaterSense program. OUC is a partner in the WaterSense program, which makes it easy to save water and protect the environment by identifying water-efficient ideas and products.
Not only are we helping our customers save water, we're committed to making sure our own facilities are water efficient. In fact our new downtown customer service and administration center, Reliable Plaza, has earned a Florida Water Star certification for its water efficient features and Florida friendly landscaping. Reliable Plaza uses 40 percent less water than a similarly sized facility.