The average New Jersey resident uses 100 gallons of water per day, a number which increases dramatically during the summer months. In fact, in some cases, New Jersey communities that engage in outdoor irrigation increase their average water use by up to 85 gallons per day in the summer months, mostly due to overwatering by automatic sprinklers.
One to 1.5in of water are typically needed to maintain lawns greens and growing. In NJ we generally obtain ~1in rain per week. Setting automatic sprinklers to water 2 days a week is considered sufficient to maintain healthy lawns (they are often set for 4d/week resulting in excessive watering).
In periods of drought/extreme heat it is recommended to save water and let the grass become dormant.
See here below and attached documents for tips on water conservation.
- Only water when needed; in NJ, most landscapes need only 1 inch of water a week. This often comes from rainfall and dew
- Water flowers and landscaping with water harvested in a rain barrel connected to a downspout
- Use 30-50% less water with drip irrigation and micro-sprays compared to sprinklers
- Get an audit done on your irrigation system by someone who is a USEPA WaterSense partner
- If you have automatic sprinkler install a SMART system that can monito weather report and the water content of the soil and only water when needed
In the Garden:
- Use native plants that need less water
- Group plants together based on water needs
- Choose drought-tolerant grass varieties, such as fine-leaf fescues
- Mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and water-consuming weeds
- Cut back on lawn areas and increase the size of areas that need less water, such as native plant beds
- If puddles form on the landscape or in the street, you are overwatering
- Water plants in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation
- Water the root zone of plants instead of the foliage
- Water deeply and less frequently for a deeper, healthier root system
- Add organic matter to the soil to improve water- and nutrient-holding capacity
- Use water from dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners to water your plants
- For more ideas, visit the NJ Master Gardeners
CLICK HERE to watch the Ridgewood Water Forum
Landscaping for water conservation - Rutgers coop ext
Conserving Water on Lawns and Landscapes - Rutgers Coop Ext
Environmentally Friendly Lawns Presentation-Rutgers coop ext