July 13, 2023 03:13 PM
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The Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) is urging all of its customers to be more mindful of their water usage this summer and implement simple, yet effective, water-saving tactics when irrigating lawns and gardens. With automatic irrigation systems running excessively throughout the warmest months of the year, 70 percent of the 70 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water pumped all year by the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) is exclusively consumed by irrigation systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 50 percent of the water used by irrigation systems is wasted due to inefficient lawn watering practices.


“During the summer months, our infrastructure—while robust and continuously improved—is overburdened by the steep increase in water demanded by automatic irrigation systems,” said SCWA Chairman Charles Lefkowitz. “The worst of it is that so much of the water consumed by these systems is wasted, providing no benefit to the health of landscapes. We implore our customers who irrigate to take advantage of the rebate programs we offer to install a smart irrigation controller. Most importantly, follow the odd/even lawn watering schedule.”      


Swapping a standard irrigation timer for a smart controller can save up to 30 percent on summertime water usage. These devices are so effective because they use Wi-Fi connections to tap into local weather stations and determine when your property will need watering based on past, present and future weather forecasts. Some of these devices also use sensors which accurately tell your sprinkler system exactly how much water your lawn needs in order to stay healthy and green without the risk of overwatering. Although smart irrigation controllers ultimately pay for themselves within a year or two due to the amount of water saved, customers can use WaterWise credits from the SCWA towards the purchase of their controller.


“All of Long Island draws its water from a single-source aquifer hundreds of feet below the surface, containing trillions of gallons of water used by millions of people every day,” said SCWA CEO Jeffrey Szabo. “However, this resource is finite and must not be taken for granted. Not only is excessive usage not sustainable and detrimental to our environment, the increasing upward trend of usage will require millions upon millions of dollars in investment and cause the cost of water to rise significantly.”


In addition to installing a smart irrigation controller, customers are encouraged to practice other water conservation methods that only require small changes to daily watering habits. Lawns only need an inch of water per week to remain healthy meaning they do not need to be watered every day. Lawns that are watered everyday are more susceptible to burning because they develop shallow roots. Customers are urged to adhere to the SCWA’s odd/even lawn watering schedule, which permits odd-numbered houses to water on odd-numbered calendar days and even-numbered houses to water on even days.


When you water also matters. The late morning into the afternoon is peak evaporation time, so watering lawns at night or in the early morning prevents water waste. Customers are also encouraged to cut back the amount of time they water each zone by 20 percent. Generally speaking, this will not impact the quality of lawns and landscaping, but will save tens of thousands of gallons of water from every single household over the course of the summer.


To learn more about water-saving programs and rebates available to customers, please visit www.scwa.com/conservation.


About the Suffolk County Water Authority

The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.

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