Water Use & Conservation
An Overused Resource
Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesotans have come to take water for granted. We expect water will always be there when we need it. However, as the population has grown, so has the number of households and the demand for water. More and more manufacturing processes are using water that is not recycled. The amount of available water is actually decreasing.
Studies by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNR), the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) and other professionals who study groundwater indicate the levels of water in the aquifers are declining. The recharge or replenishing of the groundwater takes years and years. With declining supply and increasing demand/use, it raises the question of how dependable our water supply will be into the future, short and long term.
City Water Facts
The time has come for all of us to look at our water usage and ask, "What can I do to use less water?" Here are a few facts to consider when seeking an answer to that question:
- The City of Blaine as a whole uses an average of 2.3 billion gallons of water a year, or 6.38 million gallons a day. That's enough to fill Laddie Lake 31 times!
- July records the highest usage at over 392 million gallons for the month. June, July and August are the three highest usage months with over 1 billion gallons used on average for those months.
- The lowest usage month is February at 119 million gallons on average, with the three lowest months being January, February and March with an average of 376 million gallons for the three months.
- Each household in Blaine uses 88,400 gallons per year, or 22,100 gallons per quarter; or enough water to fill 134 bathtubs every month!
- An average of 36,568 gallons per household is used in June, July and August (highest 3 months), and an average of 13,030 in January, February and March (lowest three months).
Considerably more water is used during the summer months and the obvious answer to the source of that increase is lawn irrigation/watering. National studies show that 30% of the water used by an average household in the summer is to water lawns and gardens.
To put this into perspective, lawns in our area only need 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water each week to maintain a healthy, green lawn. That includes whatever rain falls in that week. One inch of rain on an average yard equals about 900 gallons of water.
An irrigation system, depending on the type of sprinkler heads used, will put out 12 gallons of water per minute. Watering for 30 minutes per day will use 2,520 gallons per week, and many people will run their system every day. Your lawn only needs about 900 gallons per week.
Water Saving Tips
Here are some tips to help cut back on the amount of water you use and maybe save even more money:
- Purchase a soil moisture meter (usually $30 or less). This will tell you if your lawn actually needs water, helping you water less frequently. Works whether you water by hose or irrigation system. It will pay for itself in one season!
- If you have an irrigation system, you might also add a water sensor. This will prevent the system from turning on when it is raining.
- Check your irrigation system or hose/sprinkler for leaks; repair those you find.
- Make sure your sprinkler heads are aimed at your lawn. Watering the street, driveway and sidewalk only wastes water.
- Don't water between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Watering during the hot hours of the day will cause much of the water to evaporate and may cause burning on the grass blades and flower leaves. The best time to water is between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.
- Don't mow your lawn too short. A long grass blade helps create deeper roots. This requires less water, reduces evaporation and longer grass blades shade out weeds.
- Fertilizing too much creates a thirsty lawn. Check with the University of Minnesota extension service 763-755-1280 for the best times to fertilize. You will do your lawn a favor, save water and probably add to your dollar savings!