Water, water everywhere or so it seems when we have these daily thunderstorms. We have been one of the fortunate areas in the state in the last year. Although it has been dry, we have not been under the severe drought restrictions that North Georgia has experienced. But we cannot afford to take water for granted. It is our most precious resource. Yes, it is even more precious than that foreign oil that we seem to be so dependent on.
Unfortunately, we use a lot of water during the summer on our yards. Now our yards are important to our southern lifestyle. Our yards are our outdoor rooms. We are lucky that in southeast Georgia, we can pretty much enjoy this ‘outdoor room’ all year long. Nothing relaxes me as much as being outdoors in our backyard, taking in the beautiful expanse of marsh that extends beyond our yard. But did you realize that up to 60 percent of all household water use in the summer months is used for landscape purposes in these ‘outdoor rooms?’ By taking care of our lawns and gardens properly, we can save money, time, and help the environment by conserving water use.
Water conservation is the "beneficial reduction in water use, waste, and loss." It is proven to be the most economical and environmentally protective means of meeting the challenges of water supply management. Water conservation activities can help us save water, save time, and save money year round, not just in the summer. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages us to consider ‘greenscaping’ instead of landscaping. Greenscaping is a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources, like water.
Here are some tips from the Environmental Protection Agency Greenscape site for conserving water outdoors in these last few weeks of summer.
• Build your soil with compost and mulch to hold water and reduce evaporation.
• Choose low-water-use plants. Once established, they can often thrive just on rainfall.
• Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation on beds — they can save 50 percent or more compared with sprinklers.
• Use an outdoor water timer (available at garden stores) to water just the right amount, frequency and time of day. Even better get one with a sensor that shuts it down when it rains.
• Water lawns separately from other plantings. Make sure sprinklers aren't watering the pavement.
• When soil is dry or compacted, it won't absorb water quickly. If water puddles, stop watering a while and then restart so the water has time to soak in.
• Water in the early morning—if you water at mid-day, much of the water just evaporates. Evening watering should be avoided because it can encourage the growth of mold or plant diseases.
• In a dry spell, you can allow an established lawn to go dormant. Water just once a month and brown areas of the lawn will bounce back in the fall.
These ideas will save water and reduce your water bills, too. For more information on greenscaping, check out www.epa.gov.
Current Keep Liberty Beautiful projects that need YOUR involvement:
Aug. 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Recycle It! Fair in Midway at the Midway Fire Department Start sorting your electronics, household paint, old cell phones, and batteries now to turn in. Clean out your closets and storage room to recycle items you no longer use. The fair is sponsored by the Midway Volunteer Fire Department, Goodwill Industries, and Keep Liberty Beautiful. Call 368 4888 for information.
Aug. 20, 7 a.m.: Whitewash Seabrook School. Call Cindi Miles at 884 7028 for more information.
Through Aug. 29: Cigarette Litter Prevention Project. Do you hate to see that nasty cigarette butts trashing our sidewalks and roadways? If so, then call to get involved in this awareness project to get those butts off the street.Contact Sara Swida at Keep Liberty Beautiful or Vickie Davis at the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority.
If you smoke and would like a free pocket ashtray, contact 368-4888 to pick one up. Dispose of cigarette litter appropriately.
Oct. 25: Rivers Alive in Liberty County. Mark the date on your calendar now to help with this annual event!
Liberty County: Home of the World’s Largest Crayon. Please help us make this Guinness Book of World Records project a reality by calling 368-4888 or emailing email@example.com . We have more than 700 pounds of crayons now, but we need your help as we collect even more used crayons to create this giant crayon this fall.
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.