Water should be in the top three of our most treasured blessings. We need it to survive. So many different elements of our lives depend on water. It is important to conserve it, use it wisely and thank God every day for it.
Colorado Springs Utilities has implemented water-wise rules for its service members which includes many of the parishioners in our diocese. While there are some that have other service providers or private wells, it is always a good idea to be smart and efficient when it comes to water usage.
Effective May 1, 2020, here are the six newly-implemented rules we should know.
1. Run sprinklers no more than three days per week (you choose the days).
2. From May 1-Oct. 15, run sprinklers before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
3. Do not let water pool or flow across the ground.
4. Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
5. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle when washing vehicles and equipment.
6. Only use water for cleaning outdoor surfaces, like driveways and sidewalks, to protect public safety.
Running sprinklers 3 days per week is more than enough irrigation to keep your lawn and garden healthy and vibrant. Under the new rules watering is allowed any time with a drip irrigation system, handheld hose with a shut-off nozzle or other handheld watering containers. If you have a vegetable garden you may water every day if the above mentioned practices are followed. Remember that proper lawn and garden care will encourage less water use. Amending the soil, using mulch, choosing native plants and aerating the lawn will help reduce water usage.
Colorado State University suggests the best time to irrigate your lawn is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. During this period it is generally cooler, less windy, and the humidity is higher so evaporation losses are less. Water pressure may also be higher at this time providing a more even spray distribution pattern. If watering during this time is not practical following Rule No. 2 - before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. is required.
Check your water pattern thoroughly and often. There is nothing more wasteful then letting the water spray onto the street, sidewalk and non-planted areas. If you see dry spots near the edge of the garden bed or lawn consider hand watering those areas. Turning the sprinkler up too high, to hit the edges, often causes water to splash into the street. If you have a sprinkler system, inspect the water pattern to confirm that all areas are getting proper coverage.
Shut-off nozzles are truly a water-wise gardener’s best tool. When hand watering we can sometimes be easily distracted. If you spot a pesky dandelion, you put the hose down and walk away. You might then see something else that needs tended to and forget all about the water flowing from the hose. If you have a shut-off nozzle there is “forgiveness for forgetfulness” and the garden hose will be waiting there (not wasting a drop of water) when you are ready to use it again.
The days of hosing the driveway and sidewalks down are over. Wouldn’t we rather have that precious water available for keeping our bodies hydrated and brushing our teeth? If you haven’t discovered a gas-powered or electric blower you might want to consider purchasing one. They do a great job of keeping these areas clean and tidy. There is also the broom with the added bonus of great arm exercise!
As we enter another spring and summer season let us be mindful of God’s many graces — including the water he gives us both physically and spiritually. We will never truly know the worth of the water until the well runs dry. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may the well never run dry.
(Kerry Peetz is a master gardener and member of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs.)