Nothing reminds you about the importance of water like experiencing summer in the desert! Now that summer heat has descended upon Phoenix, the hot, dry air can seem relentless. It is a good way to keep in mind why water is the desert’s most precious resource. We all need water to live, but it’s important to realize that the limited water of the desert is something we all have to use wisely. Cutting back our water usage makes desert life more sustainable and helps protect the fragile ecosystems of the desert around us.
Drought Tolerant Desert Gardening
If you have ever tried to keep a green grass lawn going in Phoenix, you know it can feel like a never-ending struggle. Why not forgo the eternal maintenance and plant an attractive garden of native and drought-tolerant plants instead? Taking out your lawn means saving tons of water and planting desert-adapted plants means less work and worry. Native gardens get by on a fraction of the water and attention that lawns guzzle up and feature the dramatic plants the desert is known for.
Most desert plants are perennials, so you can help them get established and they will continue growing for years to come, filling in and creating a lovely water-wise landscape. Even with drought-tolerant landscaping, your property may need to be watered occasionally. To get the most from your watering, only irrigate plants when the sun is down, so little water is lost to evaporation. If you can put in a buried irrigation system to get water directly down to the roots of plants. A hose timer can also help you save water by automatically starting and stopping your hose.
Be A Water Auditor
Your lawn isn’t the only thing that needs water – you do too! But how much water do you use that you don’t need to? Do a one-week water audit to find out how your habits add up – and if there is behavior you can adjust to become a more efficient water-user. The internet can help you approximate your water usage with estimated amounts – an eight-minute shower, for instance, uses about 17 gallons of water and a single toilet flush can use up to 4 gallons of water depending on the model – more efficient toilets use just over 1 gallon of water per flush.
Doing a water audit can show you why it is important to wait for a full load to run the dishwasher or do a load of laundry – lots of little loads add up super-fast! When you get a sense of how much water you use, look for ways to trim down the number. Most Americans use around 80-100 gallons of fresh water a day, which includes water used to produce the food we eat and the electricity we consume. Household use of water is estimated to be around 20 gallons a day. By using less water and electricity around the house you can cut your water usage by 50%. Eating a diet based in locally-produced food and light in animal protein also reduces your water impact.
As the summer monsoon season approaches, residents in the Sonoran Desert see dramatic rainstorms occur across the region. What isn’t widely understood is that much of this water, especially in urban environments, simply goes to waste. Pavement and compacted soil make it hard for rain water to soak into the earth where it can nourish plants and make its way down to the water table.
There are easy home modifications you can make however to help catch and store rainwater so it can be used for irrigating your landscaping. Setting up a system of gutters that feed a water storage tank is the easiest way to do this. Gutters capture the rain that falls on the area of your house and channels it into a tank you can then tap into when your plants need water.
Looking for a more sustainable lifestyle in the desert? CC Sunscreens can help. Sunscreens provide passive temperature control for your home, reducing your dependence on electric fans and air conditioning and providing comfortable shade year-round. Our custom sunscreens come is a wide array of colors and styles and are custom built and installed for your home. Why wait it out in the heat? Stay cool and green this season with CC Sunscreens.