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Protect your plants and save water in July

When: July

What: As summer hits, many homeowners begin to worry about their gardens and landscapes. As droughts hit and water use is restricted, well-tended plants and lawns turn dry and yellow, despite plenty of care and work in the spring. In year-round dry areas, the additional water needed for summer lawns and plants can be a burden on homeowners’ wallets, as well as municipal supplies. This July, help homeowners use water more efficiently during Smart Irrigation Month.

Background: Smart Irrigation Month was started in 2005 by the Irrigation Association, a membership organization for the irrigation industry. July brings a peak demand for water in many areas, and the event aims to reduce water usage with better irrigation practices and systems.

Story Pitch: Many companies and organizations can pitch around this monthlong event. Suppliers and manufacturers of irrigation equipment, which includes consumer products like automatic watering systems and sprinklers, have a great opportunity to pitch their goods. They can emphasize how well-planned systems use less water, and highlight innovative, green products. The month is also good for nurseries and other retailers in the landscaping industry, who can advise homeowners on plants that use less water and are best suited to an area’s seasonal rainfall. Advice on landscaping designs that make use of natural drainage and water runoff is especially easy for homeowners to adopt. Local governments that oversee water management, including municipal water supplies and sewer and storm drainage, may use the month to discuss how lawn irrigation impacts the local watershed. They may also promote conservation landscaping, which can help clean the water supply and limit the stress on water drainage that often comes with severe summer storms.

Story Hook: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that 36 states are likely to experience some level of water shortage by 2013. Water use continues to increase throughout the U.S., with dry Western states consuming the most water per capita due to landscape irrigation. However, the EPA estimates that outdoor water use could be cut in half with better landscaping, and up to 15 percent with well-maintained, efficient irrigation systems. What landscaping solutions are best at lowering water needs? How can homeowners make sure their irrigation systems are working correctly and not wasting water? Consider the following as you make your pitch:

  • Rain barrel systems collect water and store water from gutters for later use, including watering lawns and plants. Are these barrels permitted in your local area? How can homeowners start using them?
  • How often should irrigation systems be inspected for inefficiencies?
  • In areas that receive steady summer rain, how does better landscaping conserve and protect the watershed?
  • Does smart irrigation and less water use save homeowners money?

Tips: A local landscaper who specializes in conservation landscaping and incorporating native plants into landscapes is a great contact to speak on ways to conserve water in the yard. A representative from a municipal water company is also a good person to talk to about how droughts tax the water supply, and the importance of observing seasonal water limits.


Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense Program
(866) 987-7367

Irrigation Association
(703) 536-7080

Native Plant Database
(512) 232-0100

National Resources Conservation Service

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events



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