Outdoor Water Audit

Here's a quick quiz to gauge your water use. Give yourself 1 point for each answer that applies to you.


____ Do you water early in the morning when the air is calm? Watering in the evening is the next best option. Heat and wind cause water to evaporate quickly.
____ Do you adjust sprinklers so they do not spray on walks, driveways and against buildings?
____ Do you water the lawn and plants separately, because they require different amounts of water?
____ Do you adjust your sprinklers to prevent misting?
____ Do you adjust your watering time, so the water does not puddle or run off to other landscapes? Break your watering into two periods a couple hours apart, if water does not penetrate the soil easily.
____ Do you water annuals only when the top inch or two of soil are dry? Dig into the soil with your fingers to feel the moisture.
____ Do you use mulch to minimize evaporation? Mulches help the soil retain moisture, inhibit weed growth and prevent erosion.
____ Do you flush out your irrigation system in the spring to remove debris?
____ Do you drain the irrigation lines in the fall to prevent freeze damage?
____ Do you regularly check your system for leaks, unexplained sprays and excessively wet areas? Even a small leak can waste as much as 700 gallons per day.
____ Do you avoid overwatering? Overwatering can inhibit nutrient availability and rot plant roots.
____ Do you check to see that the moisture is penetrating to the roots? Water for 30 minutes, wait a few hours, dig into the soil. Rewater and check, if necessary.
____ Do you give special care to seedlings and transplants? They need extra moisture.
____ Do you time your watering periods? If you do not have an automatic timer on your irrigation system, use a kitchen timer.
____ Do you use a broom instead of the hose to clean sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces?
____ Do you wash your car with a bucket and a sponge? Do you use a shut-off nozzle, so the water does not run continually as you wash the car?

How do you score?
0-8 Room for improvement
9-12 You're on your way
13-16 Pour yourself a glass of ice water and relax -- you're conserving water, helping protect the environment, lowering your water bill, and creating an attractive, healthy landscape that is less expensive and easier to maintain!