Saying ‘it’s hot outside’ is an understatement, and no weatherman or weatherwoman is going to tell you any different. Average temperatures have increased a few degrees annually. This year is set to be another record-breaker. When the stifling heat is in full swing, using finite resources like water should be taken seriously. If you are wondering about ways to effectively use water at your house to stay cool, grow food, and keep your plants well-watered, here are some tips.

Rain collection

Use that deserted island training course you took to build a simple tarp rain catch. Stake the tarp in the open to catch the most rain, preferably away from trees or other low hanging obstacles that could snag or cause debris to fall into your water. You can even channel the runoff into your rain barrel!

We’ve posted about rain barrels before because they offer so much utility and longer-term rainwater storage. Rain barrels don’t have to be fancy, cooper-made contraptions. Repurpose a simple, food-safe 55-gallon drum can hold the water. For more advanced irrigation, you can set up a drip-line system that is mega-efficient at watering plants at the root. Remember, if you decide to use rainwater on edible plants and food gardens, you will need to make sure the water is free of harmful bacteria.

Houses with gutter systems already give an advantage to water collection and conservation. Bypass your downspout with a leaf filter and create a small drainage basin or bioswale at the base of the downspout. This leads to reduced stormwater runoff and puts distilled rainwater back into the watershed of an area.

Reusing Greywater **

There are dozens of gallons of water that get wasted in households every day. Wastewater from showers, sinks, washing machines, and even dehumidifiers can be reused. This wastewater, also called greywater, doesn’t contain fecal contamination and is generally safer to handle. However, greywater is considered undrinkable and shouldn’t be used for mixing your summer lemonade or watering in food gardens. It still contains bacteria and trace chemicals from households. Greywater treatment systems are an option if you want to retrofit your property for maximum water conservation. More straightforward options are available. Keep buckets handy for transferring water from a dehumidifier reservoir or your AC unit’s condensation to a watering can.

Effectively use water

There are times when using water is an absolute must. Consider the most effective ways to care for your lawn and garden: previously mentioned drip-line irrigation systems, watering at the properUse sprinklers early in the morning to effectively use water time in the day–before 10 AM/11 AM is best because the temperatures are still low and the turf stays cool. Evening watering can work for gardens, but only if drip-line irrigation doesn’t wet the plant leaves and foliage (this can lead to fungus and disease in the plant).

Landscaping for effective water conservation

Last but not least, plan your landscape to do the heavy lifting and water storage! Greenscape Geeks offers bioswale and rain garden construction that is a tested method for reducing stormwater runoff. These systems are functional, not to mention beautiful, and the variety of plants offer habitat for local wildlife!

Implementing one or even two of these suggestions can result in massive water savings for your home. This also includes hundreds of gallons annually that will be used more sustainably. Reducing waste is the first step in the reduce-reuse-recycle flow, and with these water savings techniques, you can do all three!

Greenscape Geeks is a central Indiana landscape architecture and landscape design, construction, and lawn maintenance company, serving Indianapolis (including Meridian Kessler, Herron Morton, Williams Creek, and Irvington), Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, and Zionsville.

**DISCLAIMER: Greywater should not be kept in the open for more than 24 hours as harmful bacteria can multiply in the water that is stagnant. Greenscape Geeks offers these tips as simple suggestions for further research and condones safe handling and disposal of all wastewater. Using greywater is left to the reader’s discretion.