Lawn irrigation is a major draw on Long Island’s Sole-Source Aquifer, the only source of Long Island’s drinking water. Although there is a sufficient amount to supply our needs, there is not a limitless amount of groundwater.
The Suffolk County Water Authority reports that 70% of the water they pump is for outside use, most of which is for lawn irrigation. Due to inefficient irrigation practices, such as overwatering and watering at the wrong time, a considerable portion is wasted.
“I can tell you from my years of experience in the water supply industry that we know where the vast majority of our water is being used. It’s no secret. It’s spring and summer lawn watering,” said LICAP Chairman Paul Granger. “It is imperative that we change our habits when it comes to excessive lawn watering on Long Island.”
Today S.C. Legislator Al Krupski, and Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP), announced a new, multifaceted initiative to draw attention to the benefits of “Smart Lawn Watering” to protect this invaluable resource. The initiative was made possible by the support of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and is part of LICAP’s Our Water Our Lives Campaign.
Legislator Al Krupski, who sponsored the legislation designating July as “Smart Lawn Water Month” in Suffolk, expressed his frustration, “To see lawns being irrigated during a rain storm, or in the midday heat, shows us measures must be adopted, particularly when it comes to lawn irrigation, so we can responsibly and sustainably preserve our water resources for future generations. We as a community must take every opportunity to recharge our aquifer. Although we had very heavy rains this month, this will not always be the case. Weather patterns are changing, and less frequent but more intense precipitation events are predicted. Preserving land and improving stormwater infrastructure will certainly help recharge our aquifer, so water is recharged, rather than running off into our bays, creeks and estuaries, carrying with it bacteria and pollution.”
In addition to a multi-media campaign, the initiative will include in-person public outreach and education efforts. Throughout the summer, LICAP volunteers will be stationed at various Suffolk and Nassau venues, such as beaches, parks and events, where they will offer educational materials, tips on water conservation, and information on how Suffolk County homeowners can receive a $50 credit on their water bill by purchasing water saving devices. At each venue, anyone visiting the Our Water Our Livers table who takes the pledge to conserve water will receive a free Our Water Our Lives beach towel, t-shirt or Frisbee, and is entered to win a smart irrigation controller, valued at $90.
“The Our Water Our Lives campaign is all about educating Long Islanders,” said Deputy Nassau County Executive Brian Schneider. “People want to do the right thing when it comes to protecting our water supply, they just don’t always know what the right thing is. This campaign sets a clear objective. We need to be smarter about our irrigation habits, especially during the hot summer months.”
Both the H. Lee Dennison Building and the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building will be illuminated in blue on the evening of Tuesday, July 13th, to remind Long Island residents that July is “Smart Lawn Watering Month.”