With a large part of the western United States stuck in a 20+ year megadrought and climate change causing increased evaporation and water supplies to dwindle, Lake Mead & Lake Powell, the two largest water reservoirs in the US and part of the Colorado River System are at their lowest levels since they were filled.
Jennifer Pitt from the National Audubon Society who has been researching and working to protect ecosystems in the Colorado River Basin said “it's really going to be required that all water users in all of the geographies of the Colorado River Basin using Colorado River water figure out ways to use less” in order to maintain the Colorado River system.
This has caused the federal government to bring in water restrictions on the amount southwestern states who are the biggest users of water from the Colorado river system, can take from the Colorado River Basin which states such as California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah get a significant amount of their water supply form.
Where are the water restrictions in my area?
Each state and county have enacted different ways to reduce their water consumption to meet the federal government's new restrictions. Residents and businesses in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico have been the most affected by the restrictions
In California, the State Water Board has adopted a statewide emergency water conservation regulation that bans drinkable water on decorative non-functional grass. Along with this there are a range of other restrictions in effect. A great resource outlining all state water restrictions is the California Water Board.
Texas is bearing the brunt of water restrictions as they faced extreme drought after this summer. Restrictions differ from county to county so a great resource to find out how your area is affected by water restrictions is the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.
In Florida, district water restrictions apply unless there are stricter regulations put in place by local government. The district restricts lawn watering to twice per week with even addresses on Thursday & Sunday while odd addresses on Wednesday & Saturday. Hand watering of other micro-irrigation plants does not fall under these restrictions.
Most Arizonans won’t face water limits however, Arizona farmers have been impacted significantly. From January 2022 farmers had their water supplies from the Colorado river basin entirely cut off and it is looking like that will not change into 2023.
In Colorado restrictions on watering the lawn has been put in place. Residents are being urged to only water in the evening when it is cooler and no more than 3 days per week. In addition, you cannot let water pool in gutters, streets and alleys and must use a hose nozzle and shut off when washing cars.
In Nevada a law has been passed limiting watering to 1-day per week. These retractions change with the seasons so make sure you keep up to date here. As well as this, the size of any new residential swimming pool has been capped and 600 square feet of surface area.
Similar to Nevada, New Mexico has brought in limits on the time and day of week outdoor watering is permitted. Cleaning of outdoor areas as well as vehicles is discouraged and the planting of new turf is not recommended.
Given that a significant amount of residential water is used for outdoor watering in Utah, the use of non-functional grass from landscapes has been eliminated throughout the states in favor of using more trees and native planting. Utah passed one of the nation's first statewide grass rebate programs which can be found here.
Tips to saving water without sacrificing your garden’s health
One of the key components in enabling our garden to flourish is water! But with outdoor watering the biggest reason for water consumption, in some areas making up 60% of overall water consumption. It is clear that if we can find ways to reduce the amount of water we use in our gardens and outdoor areas it will have a big impact. Thankfully, there are ways we can be saving water while still giving
Leak proof your hose & fittings
According to the Pink Plumber leaky garden hose or irrigation system can waste up to 30,000 gallons of water a month which is roughly twice as much as a leaky toilet and 3 times as much as a dripping faucet. Making your hose fittings leak proof will automatically save you water without even having to reduce your outdoor watering consumption as every drop of water is going straight to where it is supposed to!
Hoselink’s Hose fittings and connectors are guaranteed to never burst or leak! Built tough for all weather conditions the innovative design includes Hose Connectors with Flow Control that screw easily on to the end of your hose and allows you to shut the water off from the spay end without needing to return to the faucet. So, stop your hose leaking today and grab a new set of Hoselink’s hose fittings.
Cover your pool
On average ¼ inch to 1 inch of water evaporates from pools daily. The rate of evaporation also accelerates when the weather is warmer so in states where the weather is warmer for longer, and pools are more common this can contribute to a significant amount of water use as households need to refill their pools more regularly.
To reduce the amount of water loss and still be able to enjoy your pool in the hot weather, a simple solution is a pool cover. According to the United States environmental protection agency, a pool cover can reduce the amount of evaporation by up to 95%! Save water & enjoy your pool!
Be smart about how you water
There are so many options when it comes to watering your garden, from spray nozzle hose attachments to sprinklers to soaker hoses. With each watering solution it is important to assess what type of garden you have, so you can choose the most efficient option. When watering you want to avoid any water flowing onto paved areas where it will just run into storm water or evaporate.
Hoselink's Root waterer and soil breaker is the perfect option for trees & shrubs as well as pot plants. It delivers water directly to the roots of the plant underground, so you avoid wasting water through evaporation and ensure water is delivered directly to the roots.
Hoselink’s weeper hose is a product that has been specifically designed to water garden beds effectively and reduce water waste by slowly weeping water directly into the soil near plant roots.
Grow a garden with plants native to your area
Swap out your grass for native plants! Native plants are those that occur naturally in the region they evolved. These plants are resilient to the weather conditions that occur within your state or region. You will find that they flourish without much attention and require less water. They have existed for 100’s and 100’s of years in the natural environment around you.
In addition to being a great low maintenance and low water option for a beautiful garden, by planting a native garden you are providing habitat for birds and other types of wildlife that are essential for the biodiversity of the land where much of our food it grown.