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A Baker's Dozen of Water-Conservation Tips

Park & Co., a Phoenix-based marketing firm, created the Water - Use it Wisely campaign on behalf of several Arizona cities, to develop and reinforce a universal water-conservation ethic. The following water-conserving landscape tips are courtesy of the website at www.wateruseitwisely.com.

Collect the water you use for rinsing produce or from cleaning your fish tank and reuse it to water houseplants.

Use compost when planting to add water-holding organic matter to the soil. Layer organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

Direct downspouts and other runoff toward shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.

Next time you add or replace a plant, choose a low-water-use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year. Or consider landscaping with xeriscape trees, plants and groundcovers (no or very low water required).

Orient your sprinklers so they water your lawn, not the sidewalk, and minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.

Choose a water-efficient drip-irrigation system for landscaping and avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.

Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.

Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and cover ground with rock and granite mulching.

Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.

Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives. Check with your local water agency to see how much rain is needed to skip an irrigation cycle.

Don't water your lawn if it doesn't need it. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.

Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass needs water only once a month.

Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than running off the surface. © Copyright 2000 Park&Co. All rights reserved.