Congratulations to Hinesville for placing among the top-10 cities in its category for the 2013 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation sponsored by the Wyland Foundation.
Hinesville was in the 30,000-to-99,999 population category
The national challenge, which was held in April, the Earth Month, is a friendly nonprofit competition that challenges city leaders and their municipalities to see who can best inspire their residents to reduce water and energy usage. The campaign centered around a series of online pledges at www.mywaterpledge.com. City standings were listed in real time throughout the month. The Hinesville staff opted to encourage pledges throughout the month and also as part of their booth activities at the annual Earth Day Celebration on April 22.
Residents from cities with the highest percentage of participants in their population category were entered in drawings for $50,000 in environmentally friendly prizes, including a Toyota Prius c, water-saving fixtures and shopping sprees at Lowe’s home-improvement stores. Last year, residents from 1,000 cities, with all 50 states represented, pledged to save more than a billion gallons of water, reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles and prevent 60,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds.
According to the Wyland Foundation website, this year’s pledges will save 742,175,738 gallons of water.
So how can you save water in your home? Here are some summertime tips for your lawn and landscaping from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and its water-conservation campaign, Every Drop Counts:
• Raise your lawnmower blade to at least the 3-inch mark. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than closely-clipped lawns.
• Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water and is a source of water pollution.
• Mulch to retain moisture in the soil and help control weeds that compete with plants for water.
• Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
• Minimize the grass areas in your yard, because less grass means less water.
• Don’t over-water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five-to-seven days in the summer.
• Water lawns during early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
• Don’t water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not the paved areas.
• Install water-efficient sprinklers for each use such as micro- and drip-irrigation and soaker hoses.
• Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure that they are operating properly.
• Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours. Use a kitchen timer, if needed, to remind yourself to turn the water off.
• Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom instead, and save hundreds of gallons of drinkable water.
• Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly. Replace or add washers if you find leaks.
• Avoid the installation of ornamental water features unless the water is recycled.
• Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park it on the grass, use a bucket with soapy water, turn off the water while soaping and use a hose with a pressure nozzle to decrease rinsing time.
For more water-saving tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thanks to the city of Hinesville and, particularly, Krystal Hart and the water-department staff for a great job promoting water conservation. If you would like to see the other leaders in the campaign, go to www.mywaterpledge.com and scroll to “City Rankings” at the bottom of the home page.