Ah weather, the universal topic of conversation. Isn't it humbling to think about, despite the incredible ingenuity and inventiveness of humankind, how much power the weather still has over our lives? We in Wisconsin are definitely not alone in our hot weather + drought worries this summer. Thursday morning, the southern counties of the state were "upgraded" to severe drought status, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Severe drought status is just one step away from extreme drought. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 42 counties. Probably most immediately troubling is that without rain, great losses are expected in agricultural crops. As I drove through the south central part of the yesterday, I noticed the fields, that earlier in the year were looking quite promising, are beginning to show signs of stress. Certainly any lawn that isn't watered regularly is brown and crispy as can be.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
- Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
- For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
- Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
- If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model. A water-efficient showerhead are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
- Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
- When we finally get rain, collect water from your roof to water your garden using a rain barrel.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month. Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month. Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month. Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
- Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains. (Most of our lawns are already dormant already anyway.)
- Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.