Below are helpful articles on a variety of water and water conservation related topics. Click an article to see it.
This is an excerpt from an article written by Dr. Tony Koski, Extension Turf Specialist, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
Precipitation, snow pack, stream flow, and reservoir levels are significantly lower than historic averages throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. During normal precipitation years, landscape irrigation comprises 50% or more of urban water use during the growing season in the Rocky Mountain region. In anticipation of restrictions in turf irrigation that may be imposed by water utilities, communities, and other water-management entities, the following practices allow you to have a green lawn and still reduce water consumption:
- Make sure that the irrigation system is operating properly.
- Replace broken or missing sprinkler heads.
- Check that the spray heads are turning properly.
- Adjust heads so that water is not thrown onto streets and driveways.
- Check nozzles for plugging.
- Place shallow containers (tuna or cat food cans, yogurt containers, etc.) around the yard and measure output so that you know how long it takes to apply ¼ to ½ inch of water.
- Place containers on persistent dry spots to determine if poor sprinkler coverage is the problem.
- Water as infrequently as possible, without causing undue stress to the lawn.
- Most lawns should be able to tolerate being irrigated every 3-5 days (or even longer).
- Turn your irrigation controller to the “Manual” position (from “Automatic”) and learn how to operate it manually.
- Don’t irrigate the lawn on a set schedule (every 2 or 3 days); lawn water use can vary greatly from one day to the next.
- Irrigate when footprints or mower wheel tracks become easily visible on the turf and large areas of the lawn take on a bluish-gray color.
- Apply ¾ to 1 inch of water, slowly enough that runoff and puddling does not occur; cycling through irrigation stations or moving your sprinkler around the yard while irrigating helps water to soak more thoroughly and evenly into the lawn.
- Don’t water again until you see abundant signs of water stress (foot printing, blue/gray coloration) appear in the lawn.
- Hand-watering small or isolated dry spots can allow you to go another day without watering the entire lawn.
- Water between 6PM and 9AM, when it is cooler and there is less wind.
- Avoid heavy or frequent nitrogen fertilization.
- Lush, fast-growing grass uses more water.
- Grass that is lush is more likely to be damaged if watering restrictions are imposed.
- Set your mowing height at 2 ½ to 3 inches (or as high as it can be set); don’t remove more than 3/4 inch of grass at any single mowing; use a sharp blade to reduce tearing of the grass leaves.
- Be willing to accept a less than perfect lawn; tolerate a few brown spots and edges in the lawn.
- Don’t put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden.
- Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year.
- Check your toilet tank for leaks by adding dye tablets to the tank. If toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes in the bowl. Flush as soon as the test is done, since the dye may stain the porcelain.
- Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
- Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. Stopper the tub before turning on the water. Adding hot water later can warm the initial burst of cold water.
- Don’t let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for the water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and washing machines only when they are fully loaded and properly set the water level to the size of load you are washing.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather then letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
- Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.
- Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
- Don’t overwater your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 3 to 4 days in the summer and every 7 to 8 days in the late fall.
- Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed is the lowest.
- Don’t water your driveway, sidewalk or street. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn or shrubs.
- Regularly check sprinkler system and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly.
- Skip a watering cycle if it has rained. Add rain and moisture sensors to your automated sprinkler system.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A higher lawn cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper.
- Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water.
- Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with plants for water.
- Plant native and/or drought tolerant grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalks. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas.
- Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.PLEASE HELP US CONSERVE WATER by doing just one thing each day that will save water. Don’t worry if the savings is minimal, every DROP counts!
The water meter for your home is usually located in a meter pit, at the front of your home near the property line. The water meter pit is a cylindrical vault buried in the ground with a cover and a lid that houses the water meter. The meter lid is approximately one foot in diameter and indicates “Water” on the cover. Once a month, a District Operator reads the water meter so your usage can be billed.
The meter reader and maintenance personnel need to have ready access to the meter cover and the water meter inside in the event there is a need to shut off the meter. No sod or landscaping material is allowed to cover the meter cover lid. We also request that no shrubbery, rock gardens or trees be planted within 10 feet of the meter so that the Operators can easily access the water meter and maintenance staff will not have to disturb the landscaping if there is a leak at the meter pit. If you have existing shrubs or trees near the meter pit, consider relocating them before they mature. The District is not responsible for replacing them in the event there is a leak at the meter.
The District maintains the waterline from the street to the meter pit, while the homeowner is responsible from the meter pit to the house. All homeowners should be aware of the location of their water meter (see our FAQ page) and the master shut off valve within the house in case there is a leak.
Tree roots are rapidly becoming a problem encountered by many residents in the Pinery’s older subdivisions. The trees we all love become our worst nightmare in a sewer line with any minor imperfections. Current technology gives us several solutions for this condition.
- Option one is to call a plumber every one to two years and have the roots cut out. But, this will soon destroy your sewer lines.
- Option two is dig up your sewer service and repair the problem.This can be very costly, destroy landscaping and harm mature trees.
- Option three is a product called RootX. This product kills roots in the sewer line and prevents their re-growth for up to one year. You can purchase similar products from your plumber, but DO NOT PURCHASE PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN COPPER SULFATE. The EPA has approved RootX for use in all fifty states. RootX will not harm your trees, only the roots that intrude into your sewer.
RootX can be purchased at the District office. Please call the office at (303) 841-2797 for additional information.
Fats, Oils, & Greases aren’t just artery and waistline killers…..they’re bad for sewers, too!
(Water Environment Federation) Sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment. An increasingly common cause of overflows is sewer pipes blocked by grease. Grease gets into the sewer from household drains as well as from poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses. Where does the grease come from? Most of us know grease as the byproduct of cooking. Grease is found in such things as:
- Cooking oil
- Butter and margarine
- Food scraps
- Baking goods
- Dairy products
Too often, grease is washed into the plumbing system, usually through the kitchen sink. Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe. Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents, which claim to dissolve grease, may actually pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.
The results can be:
- Raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home, an expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner;
- Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets;
- Potential contact with disease-causing organisms; and
- An increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers
What we can do to help?
The easiest way to solve the grease problem and help prevent overflows of raw sewage is to keep this material out of the sewer system in the first place. There are several ways to do this:
- Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
- Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal (or recycling where available).
- Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash for disposal.
- Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out. Call your local sewer system authority if you have any questions.