Water Wise Irvington
Irvington village residents have long supported preservation of our green open spaces, sweeping river views and natural resources. Of these resources, none is more important than fresh, clean water. Without it, of course, there is no life. The goal of our community’s new “Water-Wise” program is to encourage residents, businesses and schools to use water more efficiently and effectively.
Our "Water-Wise Community" program needs your active support. The respectful treatment and conservation of a fundamental natural resource is essential to the quality of Village life we all value.
Our water, originating Upstate, is transported through underground aqueducts and provided to Irvington by the New York City system via a pump station in Greenburgh. The Village purchases the water from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and as an “Upstate customer,” we are allotted a specific amount of water each month at a wholesale rate. However, if overall Village consumption exceeds our monthly allotment, we must pay for any additional water at the full retail rate, which is approximately 3 times the wholesale cost.
We are lucky to have easy access to some of the safest, best-tasting water in the country — just by turning on the tap. But do we really understand how much we consume?
The average Irvington family uses more than 500 gallons of water per day at home. Household usage can be much higher with water-intensive irrigation of landscapes.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BILL
In order to compensate for excessive usage (typically during summer months), village water rates have been structured to impose an “excess rate” on customers that use the most water. When a customer uses more than 100 units of water (74,800 gallons) in a quarterly billing period, the amount over 100 units is billed at a rate that is approximately 3 times the regular rate.
Did you know that lawn irrigation doubles overall village water usage every summer??
Here are 15 recommendations for reducing your single most significant seasonal water use.
- Only 1” of water per week – inclusive of rainfall. Less frequent, deeper (longer) watering scheduled over several days is best for turf root growth. (Water lawns under establishment enough to maintain a moist but not soggy seed bed.) How much time is 1”?? Place an empty tuna can in your lawn and run the zone for 15 or 30 minutes. Use a ruler to measure total water accumulation in the can. For example, 1/4” in 15 minutes indicates that a one hour run time for this zone would be needed to reach 1” coverage.
- Adjust program by season – reprogram irrigation controller to water less during the cool, damp Spring vs. the hot, dry Summer or a drought period.
- Add a soil moisture probe – read actual soil moisture at turf roots. Probes added to each system zone type (sun, shade) allow finer watering control.
- Your rain sensor knows – there’s no reason to water during or after a storm if the sensor detects enough rain has fallen.
- Check system for leaks – in the early Spring when the system is re-commissioned, step the controller thru each zone. Also check water meter with no active zone. Keep an eye out for pooling: leaks can develop during the season.
- Adjust spray patterns – lawn, shrubs, trees, garden beds each require different amounts of water. Landscapes grow and change each year. (Also, don’t waste water on paved areas.)
- Stop if pooling occurs – if your lawn shows pooling or excess runoff, the soil is saturated. Enough! Adjust the zone timing. Also, check for soil compaction.
- Define additional zones – The more zones, the better control. Lawn in full sun vs. shade may require different amounts of water. (Ditto for landscape beds.)
- Drip irrigate plant beds – overhead water may result in mildew or other foliar disease issues. Cover drip lines & beds with mulch. Drip uses less water and reduces loss from evaporation. Irrigate established plants only during drought.
- Water lawn early morning – 4am-7am during natural dew period to reduce possibility of turf diseases.
- Compost & aerate soil – core aerating and topdressing with compost increases the organic content and ‘fluffiness’ of your topsoil, increasing water retention and root zone oxygenation.
- Replant lawn with fescue – for our warming climate, tall fescues grow much deeper roots (9” vs. 2” for bluegrass), require less irrigation, and survive droughty periods better than other turf types.
- Mow lawn at 3.5”-4” high – leaving taller blades provides greater shading of weeds, produces deeper roots, and reduces stress on grass during hot, dry periods. Only mow when actually required, not on a ridged weekly schedule.
- Turf sleeps in summer heat – most lawns use ‘cool season’ grasses that grow vigorously in Spring and Fall, but slow down in the summer heat. Prudent irrigation can prevent summer turf dormancy and help reduce influx of crabgrass.
- Monitor your water bill – check the impact of irrigation settings or detect leaks. Compare with last year’s billed usage for the same seasonal period.
Do take short showers and save 5 to 7 gallons a minute.
Do fill the tub halfway and save 10 to 15 gallons.
Do install water-saving toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators. (Place a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank if you cant switch to a low-flow toilet.)
Do repair leaky faucets and turn taps off tightly. A slow drip wastes 15 to 20 gallons each day.
Don't run the water while shaving, washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Faucets use 2 to 3 gallons a minute.
Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket, and don't flush it unnecessarily.
Kitchen & Laundry
Do run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Save even more by using the short cycle.
Do install faucet aerators.
Don't let the water run with an open drain while washing dishes. Kitchen faucets use 2 to 3 gallons a minute. Filling a basin only takes 10 gallons to wash and rinse.
Do use a self-closing nozzle on your hose.
Don't water your sidewalk or driveway -- instead, sweep them clean.
Don't overwater your lawn or plants. Water before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
Don't open fire hydrants.
Water Conservation Video