Water Conservation Tips

June 13, 2024  | By Shoal Creek Conservancy

The official start of summer is approaching and the higher temperatures are already upon us. Since the Austin area remains in a Stage 2 Drought, we are sharing a few tips to help you keep your plants alive and protect your soil, while also conserving water.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor water use accounts for between 30-60% of total household water use, and as much as 50% of the water we use outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient watering. Sprinklers are the least efficient way to water your yard or garden because so much water is lost to wind and evaporation. Spot-watering with a watering can, or a hose and nozzle, allows you to be more precise with where the water goes so that less is wasted. Watering with a soaker hose or with drip irrigation are great methods that result in the least evaporation. The City of Austin offers a Irrigation Upgrade rebate of up to $1,000 to improve your irrigation system’s efficiency.

To level up your water conservation, borrow a Water Saver Hose Meter from the Austin Public Library! A Water Saver Hose Meter is used to monitor and control water use with a digital meter attachment for garden hoses and hose-end sprinklers. When watering your lawns and gardens, it is best practice to water areas in the shade about 30 percent less than sunny areas. Shade creates a microclimate of cooler temperatures and lower evaporation, so plants need less water. The Austin Public Library also offers Sunlight Calculators to measure the amount of light each area of your yard receives.

Better yet, adding native plants to your property can support pollinators and other wildlife while using less water and fertilizer than a traditional lawn. These changes, directly and indirectly, support the health of Shoal Creek and its ecosystem. And, the City of Austin offers a Waterwise Landscape Rebate up to $3,000 to those who convert their turf grass to native plant beds.

For any lawn you do keep, don’t cut the grass too short. Move the mower deck to its highest setting to avoid scalping your lawn, stressing the grass, and exposing the soil. You can also remove the bag from your mower to let the grass clippings remain on the lawn as a natural mulch that will help retain water and protect your grass, roots, and the soil.

Austin Water also offers helpful tips and information on saving water and money in your home, including a water conservation checklist with both indoor and outdoor water saving tips. And, you can stay up to date on the current water restrictions in Austin and find your watering schedule based on your address.

Visit our Creekside Neighbors page for many more resources related to implementing green infrastructure and water conservation in your own yard that help protect and preserve our waterways and save you money at the same time!