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Outdoor water efficiency

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Half of the water you use in your home is used outside. You can save water outdoors by taking a few small steps like smart lawn care and checking for leaks.

On May 19, 2009, the Board of County Commissioners approved an inter-local agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Southwest Florida Water Management District that updated the County's Water Conservation and Landscape Irrigation Ordinance (Ord. 08-09). This ordinance places restrictions on landscape irrigation. To see when you can water your lawn, click here.

Irrigation

Water your lawn only if it needs it. A good soaking from a rain storm will keep the soil moist for up to two weeks. It is time to water when the grass begins to look stressed. You can tell if your lawn is stressed if tire tracks or footprints remain on it for long periods of time, if the grass turns bluish-grey, if the blades are folded in half lengthwise or if the soil near the roots is dry.

Don't overwater. Too much watering can actually promote the growth of weeds and fungus. Water no more than 3/4 of an inch each time. This is enough to saturate the roots and promote healthy growth. Dry soil at the surface is normal. 

Before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., the temperature and wind speeds are lowest which means less water will be lost to evaporation. 

For more in-depth information from our local water management districts about irrigation visit the St. Johns River Water Management District or the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Water-wise landscaping

Native Florida plants are adapted to the state's climate. They can tolerate periods of drought and heavy rain better than non-native species. Check out the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program with Marion County UF/IFAS Extension Service for environmentally-friendly yard tips.

Check for leaks

Check all hoses, connectors and spigots for leaks. Using hose washers between spigots and water hoses can eliminate leaks.

If you have a sprinkler system, periodically check for moist spots in the yard. This could mean there is a leak within the sprinkler system or in your main service line. Contact a plumber or landscape maintenance professional for repairs. 

Other Tips

- Use a broom to sweep leaves off your sidewalks and driveway instead of the hose.
- If you have a pool or spa, cover it when it is not in use to reduce evaporation.
- You can also look into water saving pool filters.
- Install a rain barrel to collect rain water. This water can be used for irrigation or other outdoor needs. Find out how to get one from Marion County UF/IFAS Extension Service.
- Put a spray nozzle on your hose so that you can stop the stream of water instead of letting it run. To avoid leaks, make sure you turn the water off from the spigot and not just the nozzle.
- Wash your car efficiently by turning the nozzle off when the hose isn't in use or seek out carwashes that recycle their water.