PINELLAS COUNTY - Outdoor water use accounts for 58 percent of the total residential water use in Pinellas County, according to Utilities Department officials.
The Healthy Lawn program, designed to encourage efficient water use, educates people about conservation practices that not only save water, but also helps people maintain healthier lawns and landscapes.
Over-watering can damage a lawn by encouraging shallow root systems, growth of weeds, chinch bug damage and excessive thatch. The countyís prescription for a healthy lawn includes irrigating only as needed once plants are established.
Properly designed and installed irrigation systems save water and money. A sprinkler system can cost residents between $4 and $10 every time it operates, according to information at www.pinellascounty.org/utilities.
Tampa Bay Water officials say that up to 30 percent of outdoor irrigation water is wasted.
A ĺ inch garden hose used for 15 minutes spits out 132 gallons of water. An irrigation system applying one inch of water a week to 1,000 square feet uses 624 gallons of water.
Residents can reduce outdoor water use by 5 to 10 percent by installing automatic shutoff nozzles; five to 10 percent by installing automatic rain shutoffs; five to 10 percent by adding improved programming of automatic sprinklers. Adding drip irrigation for non-turf areas can save between 25 and 75 percent.
Other ways to save water include making sure that the sprinklers water the lawn, not the driveway and street and keeping sprinkler heads in good repair.
Healthy lawns require letting the grass grow at least three to four inches between mowings, according to the Healthy Lawn program brochure, which also advices to reduce watering needs for landscape plants by using 2 to 3 inch deep mulch around trees and flowerbeds.
For more information on conserving outdoor water and maintaining a healthy lawn and landscape, call 464-4000.
The top three indoor household water users are toilets, clothes washers and the shower, according to American Water Works Association.
Toilets account for about 26 percent of the average homes indoor water use Ė about 20 gallons a day. The Utilities Department is focusing on replacement of older high flow toilets with the Ultra Low Flow Rebate program, which offers $100 for each high flow toilet replaced.
The goal of the program is to save two million gallons a day of potable water through replacement of 93,000 high flow toilets over five years.
Since 2001, more than 80,000 high flow toilets have been replaced. The program ends Sept. 30, 2007. For more information, call 464-4000.