During the summer months, Medicine Hat residents collectively consume nearly 400% more water than they do in the winter months! There are many ways to use water wisely outdoors without affecting the look of your landscape and saving money on your utility bill. Careful plant selection along with wise watering habits can significantly reduce outdoor water use!
Save Water Wisely
Follow these tips to reduce the amount of water you use outside.
Hoses and Sprinkler Systems
- Check for leaks on hose bibs, connections, hoses, sprinklers and underground irrigation systems.
- Make sure that hoses and sprinklers are watering plant and lawn areas – not the sidewalk, driveway or house.
- Install an automatic timer on your hose or sprinkler system to avoid leaving the sprinkler running all day.
- Be sure to check timers to ensure that they are operating properly.
- Consider installing a water-efficient drip irrigation system in shrub and flower beds.
- Winterize hoses and hose bibs to prevent them from freezing and breaking in the winter months.
- Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Avoid watering when it’s windy. The water will blow away or evaporate before it gets to the lawn or garden.
- Lawns and gardens only need about 1 inch of water per week. Place a small container out when you water to help measure.
- Turn sprinkler timers off during periods of rainfall; let Mother Nature do your watering instead!
- Direct eavestrough downspouts into a flower bed, tree base or your lawn.
- Use a rain barrel, either build your own or purchase one from a local hardware store. Harvest rainwater from downspouts and use this water for your lawn and garden.
- Water plants directly at the root using soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Long, slow watering done once per week is better for your plants rather than watering quick, several times.
- Water heavily but less frequently to create healthier and longer root systems.
Lawn and Garden Maintenance
- Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades roots and holds moisture better than shorter grass.
- Aerate your lawn to better absorb water.
- Apply a quarter of an inch of compost to your lawn and mix it into your garden to help regulate soil moisture.
- Add 3-6 inches of mulch around plants, shrubs, and trees to retain moisture and moderate soil temperature.
- Weed yards and gardens regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for water.
- Fertilizers increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
- Plant low-water and drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees.
- Group plants together according to their water needs.
- Minimize turf and maximize creative landscaping through the use of rocks and other decorative landscaping options.
Around the Yard
- Wash your vehicle at a commercial car wash that reuses water rather than washing it in your driveway. This is a great way to minimize your home water use and do better for the environment.
Washing vehicles on driveways can be a potential risk to our waterways by way of the storm sewer system. Using non-biodegradable soaps and running oils and lubricants from the vehicle down the storm drain is not only bad for the environment, it is against the City’s Public Roads Bylaw #4346.
- Sweep driveways and sidewalks clear of debris rather than washing them down with the hose.
- Cover pools and hot tubs to minimize evaporation.
Around the City
- Report possible water leaks on City water lines and fire hydrants to Environmental Utilities by calling 403.529.8176.
- If you notice that a City park or boulevard sprinkler may be malfunctioning, report this to the Parks and Recreation Department by calling 403.529.8333.
- Summer Water Conservation (YouTube)
- Outdoor/Indoor Water Conservation (YouTube)
- Outdoor Water Conservation (PDF)
- Soak Up Summer Savings (PDF)
- Convert a Garbage Can into a Rain Barrel (PDF)
- Water Efficient Landscaping