Precipitation — or the lack of precipitation — is going to be big in 2013.
Colorado Springs Utilities, which provides monthly updates on the water situation, told the Utilities Board last week that outdoor watering restrictions and maybe even a water rate increase may be needed next year.
In the meantime, the city-owned utility is offering the following winter water tips:
If you’ve ever experienced the discouragement of lawn winter kill or dead landscape plants in spring, try winter watering. Even though landscape plants are dormant and brown, they need to be watered periodically. Dry winter months often kill plants through dehydration. By winter watering, your lawn and landscape plants will have a much better chance of greening up beautifully when the warm weather of spring returns.
A word to the wise, too. Shrubs and trees that don’t receive regular water will search for hydration on their own, oftentimes in your wastewater pipes. Roots are a common cause of pipe damage, and repairs can be messy and costly. Service lines are the homeowner’s responsibility, so have pipes checked at least once a year or more if you live in a long-established, heavily-treed neighborhood.
Finally, keep in mind that your wastewater bill is calculated using the amount of water used Dec. 1 through the last day of February.
When to water
– Choose a warm winter day with air temperature above 40 degrees F and unfrozen soil.
– Water one to two times per month from November to April.
– It is most critical to water in March and April when the new roots are forming.
– Water at mid-day so it can soak in before it freezes.
What to water
– It is most important to water newly planted lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers.
– Established lawn areas and trees, especially those in sunny, windy, or exposed areas should also be a high priority.
– Established shrubs, flowers, ornamental grasses and groundcovers will also benefit.
– Do not winter water cacti, succulents, buffalograss, blue grama and very xeric plants.
How to water
– Use a hose-end sprinkler or watering wand since automatic sprinkler systems are off during the winter.
– Remove the hose from the spigot after watering to prevent freeze damage.
– Water slowly so it can soak in.
– To figure out how long to water, put out cups to catch some of the water. Water until you can measure 0.5 to 1” deep in the cups.
Water leaks turn drops into dollars
Some facts about water leaks from the Environmental Protection Agency:
– Leaks can account for, on average, 10,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, which is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.
– The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.
– Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
– Common types of leaks found in the home include leaking toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.
– Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners more than 10 percent on their water bills.
– Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet valves, and showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don’t require a major investment and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers.
– The vast majority of leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.