Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Have a water-wise Labor Day weekend

by Lynne Geller, communications and outreach, Water Resources Program

Labor Day is considered by many as the end of summer, and a three-day weekend is always cause for celebration. Can we have fun and still protect our limited water supply? Of course!
Cookout photo courtesy of TheImageGroup

Being water-efficient doesn’t have to put a cramp on your long weekend’s festivities. Using water efficiently is not about sacrifice as much as it is about awareness. And it’s not hard to do, we just start by paying attention to our water use, one day at a time.

So let’s walk through a possible scenario for the Labor Day barbecue you have planned. The invites are out, shopping list prepared and items purchased. Here are some tips you can use along the way. Once you get into the “don’t waste/reuse” mode, it soon becomes second nature. (And remember: saving water also means saving money!)

Preparing food

  • Wash produce in a pan and then reuse the water in your garden.
  • Plan ahead and defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator, not under running water.
  • Wash food prep dishes by hand in a dish bin, don’t let the water run while rinsing and use the final rinse water in your garden.
  • Have plenty of cold water available in pitchers, so no one has to run the tap to get cold refreshment.

Setting up the backyard

  • Your yard can look inviting even with minimal water use. Native/drought-resistance plants will look pretty with little water. And did you know that letting your lawn go dormant can be a fashion statement? Brown is the new green.
  • Let the kids (and kids at heart) cool off using the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  • Want Fido to look his best as he wanders among the guests? Wash him outside and reuse the rinse water in your garden.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway, patio and sidewalks.

Winding down

  • Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Got ice cubes (or water) left over in water glasses? Toss them onto the lawn.
  • If you wash dishes by hand, use a dish bin rather than having the water run, and use the final rinse water in your garden.
  • If you use a dishwasher, you don’t need to rinse the dishes first. Always run with a full load.

Have a happy, water-wise, safe Labor Day weekend!

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