Help conserve water

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

It won’t be at all evident this Wednesday in Suffolk, but the vast majority of Virginia is under abnormally dry conditions.

Rainfall amounts since mid-July have varied from 6 to 12 inches below normal across much of the state. That, combined with record-breaking high temperatures, has resulted in drought conditions across much of the state and “abnormally dry” conditions in parts including Suffolk. Agricultural operations across the state have already been affected. Gov. Ralph Northam last week issued a statewide drought watch advisory.

With the rain expected this Wednesday and next week, fears of an extreme drought may be at bay for now, and water conservation measures at this point are completely voluntary. However, it’s never a bad idea to help conserve water by reducing or eliminating unnecessary uses.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers these tips. Some are obvious but are good reminders; others may not be so obvious.

  • Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.
  • Consider replacing old equipment like toilets, dishwashers and washing machines with water-saving models.
  • Install faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.
  • Landscape your lot so that it includes more trees and shrubs and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery and usually demand less water.
  • When mowing your lawn, set the blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil to improve moisture retention and allows the grass to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system, making it more drought tolerant.
  • Do not over-water your lawn.
  • Apply mulch and compost around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
  • Use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing them off.