The Rhode Island Water Resources Board has launched a public awareness campaign encouraging Rhode Islanders to follow simple watering guidelines this summer. They are hoping this campaign helps keep lawns healthy while conserving water. Kenneth Burke, general manager of Water Resources, said in a press release, “Water is a renewable but finite resource. Clean water is not always available when we need it and there is so much work and cost involved with producing clean, portable water that it is truly wasteful to be applying it to lawns.”
Burke said, “We are hopeful not to have a water shortage if people take the action with our water program.”
Rhode Island receives between 39 inches and 54 inches of rain each year. That’s more than enough to keep a lawn healthy, even without sprinklers. Having built-in sprinklers that water the yard on a daily basis isn’t necessary. Modern lawns are designed to survive without constant watering but timing the watering is still necessary. According to the Board, the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning. The heat of the day evaporates the water, and watering in the early morning reduces evaporation. A healthy yard only requires one inch of water a week. The state and Water Resources has done some long-range strategic planning in hopes of averting a water shortage. Among the many sources of water are wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds; which take the attention because of their size. “Pay attention to Mother Nature,” said Burke. “Let her do the watering.”
The only time that extra water is necessary is when there is a drought. Burke said people often believe that if your grass is brown or dry, you need to drown it with water. Drowning your grass only makes roots shallow, he said. It also can weaken your lawn and result in the runoff of nutrients into surrounding areas.
Burke said that the Board has many people helping them put this message out across the state. They have academics, water suppliers, engineers, hydrologists and farmers. He said they’re doing everything they possibly can to prevent a shortage, and if we do have one, he’s hoping their backup plans will suffice.
Having a healthy lawn is easy with the help of the rain, and the nutrients. To keep a lawn healthy, it should be maintained regularly. To do so, mow your lawn at a high setting to promote deep root growth and to avoid insect infestations. Also, if you leave the clippings on your lawn, this will help replenish nutrients to the roots so your lawn stays greener.
The “Slow the Flow” campaign has brochures promoting the conservation efforts during the summer. The brochures will be distributed as needed, and will help convey the message across the state. For a complete list of lawn watering guidelines and to conserve water this summer, visit www.riwater.org.