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Conserving Oklahoma's Water


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  • 1. Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’sOklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’sConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Water Conserving Conserving Water Conserving ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterWater Conserving Oklahoma’sConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingConserving Oklahoma’s Water Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterOklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’sConserving Water Conserving Conserving Water Conserving Conserving Water Conserving ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’sConserving Water Conserving Conserving Water Conserving Conserving Water Conserving Conserving Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’s Oklahoma’s Water Oklahoma’sConserving Water Conserving Conserving A T E R R E S O Conserving Water Conserving Conserving O K L A H O M A W Water Conserving U R C E S B O A R DOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s
  • 2. Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’sWater Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterConservingNo. 141 Publication Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving CONSERVING OKLAHOMA’S WATER ................................ 1Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s INSIDE YOUR HOME ........................................................... 3Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Writer .................................... Brian Vance Editor .................................... Mary Whitlow In the Bathroom ................................................................ 3Conserving .......................... Barry Fogerty Graphic Arts Oklahoma’s James Leewright Photography ......................... Water Conserving Oklahoma’s the Kitchen ................................................................... 5 In Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving In the Laundry Room .......................................................... 6Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s .................................................. 7 Special thanks to the Oklahoma Agricultural Extension Appliances and Plumbing Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Service, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater Oklahoma,Water Conserving Oklahoma’s additionalConserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water and the City of El Reno, Oklahoma, for Water photo contributions. OUTDOORS .......................................................................... 8Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water........................................................................... 9 The Lawn Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma Water Resources BoardOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Gardens J. Ross Kirtley, Chairman Trees, Shrubs, Vegetables, Flower Conserving Oklahoma’s and Groundcover .......................................................... 12Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Areas ........................................................Water Lonnie L. Farmer, Vice Chairman Richard C. Sevenoaks, Secretary Other Outdoor Water Conserving Oklahoma’s 13Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Grady Grandstaff AGRICULTURE ................................................................... 15 Richard McDonaldOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Bill Secrest Demand Management ...................................................... 17 Dick Seybolt Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Ervin Mitchell Supply Management ........................................................ 19Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s WaterINDUSTRY AND PUBLIC FACILATIES ............ 20 Wendell Thomasson BUSINESS, Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Duane A. Smith, Executive Director Michael R. Melton, Assistant to the Director CONCLUSION .................................................................... 23 Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Mike Mathis, Chief, Planning and Management Division Terri G. Sparks, Planning Section Head BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................. 25Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water ConservingOklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Conserving Oklahoma’s
  • 3. Conserving Oklahoma’s Water Because water is usually so plentiful, available and cheap, we state governments are working toward becoming prepared tooften casually disregard its importance and consider it an deal with these emergencies, decision-makers, water manag-almost limitless resource. But world water usage ers and citizens must also realize that there are water usehas tripled since 1950 and users and suppli- guidelines that can often stave off critical dry periods anders in the U.S., especially in California, the hardships associated with them. GrowingNevada, Colorado and Florida, have been concern for the preservation of state rivers,forced to deal with the harsh reality of fisheries and recreational opportunities, com-dwindling water supplies. bined with the high costs of water development, necessitate better planning, innovative water While many regions of Oklahoma are management and water conservation toblessed with abundant water supplies, maintain supplies and satisfy increasingother areas, particularly in the semi-arid demands.west, are not. And the distance betweenthe state’s water supplies and many Conservation of our water resources --rural residents who need it is so great specifically, activities designed to reducethat the expense of delivering that water water demand and improve efficiency of use --is prohibitive. From a hydrological and ensuring the availability of fresh water forstandpoint, evaporation and percolation future generations involves changing habitspreclude immediate use of approxi- and altering the manner in which we conductmately 80 percent of Oklahoma’s water. our daily routines. Water conservation is bothAverage annual lake evaporation ranges a physical and hydrologic process thatfrom 48 inches in the east to 65 inches in involves using less water and a behavioralthe southwest, amounts that far exceed concept that emphasizes using water morethe average yearly rainfall in those areas. efficiently and economically, thereby preserving and extending limited supplies. Although many Episodes of water shortages and drought water-using activities seem so mundane andare inevitable in Oklahoma. While local and unimportant compared to the many other aspects 1
  • 4. of our lives, change will be difficult. But, both individually and treatment plants. Water conservation can also have environ-collectively, it can make a difference. mental benefits, such as a reduction in wastewater discharged into rivers and streams. In the home, the key is starting simply, such as turning offwater when it is not being used, then gradually taking moreadvanced steps to reduce water consumption. On a largerscale, improved landscape designs, irrigation scheduling and Who Uses Our Water?better methods of irrigating crops, reclamation and reuse ofwastewater, water budgeting and adoption of rate controls have S According to the 1990 report of estimatedall had considerable success in reducing both use and de- water use for Oklahoma, domestic, industrial and publicmand. Although water conservation by cities, industries, rural water supply uses account for approximately 36% of allsystems and the agricultural community is more widely water withdrawn each year.practiced today than ever, there is still a need to improve wateruse efficiency and reduce losses. S Fueling the state’s prolific agricultural industry, water for irrigation accounts for approximately 42% of withdraw- For approximately $10 to $20, the average homeowner can als, primarily from groundwater sources in the west.install two low-flow showerheads, place dams or bottles in thetoilet tanks, put low-flow aerators on the faucets and repair S Lesser amounts of water are utilized for livestock,dripping faucets and leaking toilets. Worn-out washers, one of thermoelectric power generation and other purposes. Inthe most common causes of leaky faucets, is also the all, Oklahomans used more than 1.4 billion gallons ofeasiest and cheapest to fix. In just one year, these modifica- water per day during 1990, 53% from surface sourcestions can pay for themselves, saving a family of four from and 47% from groundwater aquifers.10,000 to 25,000 gallons of water. Outdoors, even more waterand money can be saved through water conservation in lawn S According to the U. S. Geological Survey, per capitaand garden areas. water use in Oklahoma is about 194 gallons per day. Community water conservation programs can prevent or delaythe costly construction of new or upgraded water/wastewater 2
  • 5. IWATER CONSERVATION Follow these indoor residential water use tips to reduce water consumption and decrease household energy and nside Your Home utility bills: Of the water used by a typical family in a year, flushing thetoilet accounts for the largest single use inside the home, IN THE BATHROOMfollowed by bathing/showering, laundry, dishwashing, drinkingand cooking. During the winter months, more than 90% of • Adapt plumbing with flow-restricting or other water-household water use occurs inside the home. About 75% of in- saving devices. Shower flow restrictors, shower control/shut-home use occurs in the bathroom, primarily through the toilet off valves, faucet aerators and similar conservation accessoriesand shower; 8% is used in the kitchen. are usually inexpensive and easy to install. Shut-off valves eliminate the need to adjust water temperature when tempo- Indoor water conservation begins with simply turning off the rarily stopping water flow.water when it is not needed, which may require a surprisinglydifficult change in our traditional water use routines. Once that • Install low-flow showerheads which restrict flow to 3 gallonschallenging obstacle is removed, the next step is to regularly per minute or less can save more than one-half of the watermaintain household water fixtures and appliances, including used in the shower.replacement of water-guzzling appliances with newer, water- They are alsosaving models. inexpensive and easy to install. From a community standpoint, water suppliers shouldconsider the potential benefits of implementing appropriate • Install flowwater supply management programs, such as metering, leak control devices,detection and repair efforts; pressure reduction; and watershed such as orificemanagement. Demand management options -- such as water restrictors that fitpricing, regulation and education -- can also result in impres- into water supplysive savings of both water and money to the community and its lines, to limit thecustomers. Technical and financial assistance is often avail- rate of flow fromable from state and federal water agencies to assist water shower heads and faucets.suppliers. 3
  • 6. How much water do you usein your home? What can you do to use less?Clothes washer 50 gallons/load up to a 40% reduction through use(large load) of a water-saving model or washing only full loadsShower 25 to 50 gallons up to a 60% reduction through use of a flow restrictor(5 gallons/minute) or low-flow shower head which reduces flow to 3 gallons/minuteFlushing toilet 5 to 7 gallons/flush 1.6 to 3.5 gallons for low-flush toiletsBath 35 gallons fill tub to lower levelDishwashing by hand 30 gallons run sufficient water into the basin and shut off faucet(water running)Leaky faucet 10 to 30 gallons/day repair or replace the leaky faucetShaving 20 gallons run sufficient water into the basin and shut off faucet(water running)Dishwasher 13 gallons/load reduce by 20% by using water-saving models or washing only full loadsBrushing teeth 2 to 5 gallons use a cup of water instead(water running)Total daily use for a 60 gallons THINK ABOUT YOURtypical individual WATER USE HABITS AND CONSERVE! 4
  • 7. • Take a shower instead of a bath, which usually requires • Wash hands with cool water instead of hot.more water, and limit showers to five minutes. • Use sink and tub stoppers to avoid wasting water• Install toilet tank displacement inserts or dams to when shaving, washing hands, washing dishes andreduce the volume of water in the tank and the amount used related activities.per flush in conventional toilets. It is the height of water inthe tank, more so than the volume, that causes the bowl to • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and use a glassflush. A plastic jug or similar receptacle, filled with stones or of water for rinsing.water to weight it down, can be used as an alternative topurchased inserts. • Turn water faucets off tightly after use.• Find and fix leaks in toilets as soon as detected. The mostcommon causes of toilet leaks are worn flush valve balls, IN THE KITCHENimproperly adjusted water levels, worn valve seats and leakingfill valves. Leaks can occur silently. To identify a leak, place a • Use dishwashers only when they are full. The averagefew drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in the upper toilet dishwasher uses up totank. Observe for about 10 minutes. If the color appears in the 16 gallons of waterbowl, a leak is present. per load.• Install low-volume flush toilets, most of which use only • Use the stopper1.6 gallons per flush, when building a new home or remodel- in the sink or aing a bathroom. pan of water to soak pots, pans,• Do not use the toilet to flush away objects that should be dishes andthrown away. cooking utensils, then hand wash to• Find and fix leaks in faucets and other water-using appli- save water, energy,ances. Such problems can usually be fixed cheaply and detergent andquickly by replacing worn washers or “O” rings. money. 5
  • 8. • Use the sink garbage disposal sparingly by peeling/ •Water for laundering is the third leading use of water inpreparing vegetables or other foods on newspapers. Rather the home (up to 50-62 gallons per large load).than throwing organic waste in the trash, start a gardencompost pile. •Launder clothes in cold water as often as possible to save energy and conserve hot water for uses which cold•Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning fruits and water cannot serve.vegetables, rather than using running water.•Thaw frozen foods by placing them in a pan of hot How to verify a water line leak?water. It’s easier than you might think. 1. Turn off all indoor/outdoor faucets and water-IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM using appliances. 2. Read the dial(s) on the water meter, usually located in•Wash only full loads of laundry in your automatic clothes the front yard near the street.washing machine 3. After 15 to 20 minutes, recheck the meter and compareor use the the current reading with the previous one.lowest water S If the reading has changed, there is a leak in thelevel setting plumbing system. (The rate, in gallons per minute, canpossible for be determined by dividing the number of gallons by thelight or elapsed time.)partial S If you have a well, listen to see if the pump kicks onloads. Most and off while the water is not in use. If it does, youautomatic have a leak.clothes S If you cannot locate and/or repair the leak, call awashing plumber or qualified water utility employee.machinesuse from 32to 59 gallons of water per load. A newer water-saving wash-ing machine can reduce water use by as much as 30%. 6
  • 9. APPLIANCES & PLUMBING •Check the water requirements of various models and brands when shopping for new appliances, such as dish-•Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks, washers and washing machines. Some use considerablyespecially between the water meter and house. less water than others.•Learn to read your water meter and keep track of waterbills so that you can judge how much water you use and During water shortages,when you use it. rationing and related emergencies:•Insulate hot water pipes and the hot water heater itself toreduce time spent waiting for water to run hot. Pipe insula- S Take shorter showers and shallower baths.tion is inexpensive and easy to install. S Reduce the number of toilet flushes per day. S Don’t use the garbage disposal.•Check the thermostat on your water heater to ensure it is S Use non-phosphate detergent and save laundry water fornot set too high. Extremely hot settings (above 125 degrees) lawns and plants.waste water and energy because hot water must often be S Turn off the shower or engage the cut-off valve whilecooled with cold water before it can be used. However, soaping up, then on again only to rinse.automatic dishwashers require a water temperature of atleast 140 degrees to clean effectively.•Locate your hot water heater as close as possible to thebathroom, kitchen and/or laundry areas to reduce hot wateruse. Consider using two small water heaters placed instrategic locations, rather than one large unit.•Turn off your electric water heater at the circuit breaker ifyou are going to be away from your home for more than afew days. 7
  • 10. OWATER CONSERVATION because the homeowner lacks information on how much water utdoors the lawn really needs. Over-irrigation encourages disease, weed growth and pests, so watering plants only when they need it will result in healthier plants, reduced weeding, lower Outside, where the vast majority of summer home water use pest and disease control costs and less fertilizer. Water shouldoccurs, landscaping consumes the greatest amounts of water. be applied deeply to lawns. In outdoor gardens, mulch not onlyOutdoor watering accounts for up to one-half of the total water holds moisture but inhibits weed growth.used per residence each year. In the summer, lawn, shrub andgarden watering typically accounts for 50 to 80% of home Trickle or dripwater use. garden irrigation systems can use The keys to outdoor water conservation are to eliminate 80 to 90% lessoverwatering and reduce evapotranspiration. Landscapes are water than hose ortypically overwatered by as much as 20 to 40%, primarily sprinkler methods. The trickle system waters closely spaced plants through a small plastic tube or hose with many tiny holes that runs along the ground. Drip system tubing utilizes holes or openings at strategic places to water plants, such as toma- toes, that are more widely spaced. Efficient landscaping can save between 40 and 90% of the water used in a traditional garden. “Xeriscape,” one of the most popular and water-efficient forms of landscaping, incorporates intelligent and attractive landscape design utilizing native/ adapted vegetation which requires less water, and limitation of lawn size to save both water and energy. Xeriscape plants are 8
  • 11. drought-tolerant and more resistant to disease and damaging cannot get to the roots; it also encourages plant diseases andinsects. They also provide year-round color as well as excel- salt buildup. Lawns on sandy soil require more frequentlent wildlife habitat. Because they are water and energy watering than lawns on loam or clay soils. Water can beefficient, xeriscape landscapes require less maintenance and applied less often to clay and loam, but it should be appliedneed less chemicals and fertilizers than traditional landscapes. more slowly to prevent runoff.Wise planning and staged conversion are essential in trans-forming an existing garden/lawn to native orxeriscape-type vegetation. Local nurseries canprovide invaluable advice in choosing suitablelandscape vegetation and in establishing a water-efficient landscape.Follow these tips to shorten watering time,reduce evaporation and lower costs for water:THE LAWN• Water your lawn only when it really needsit, i.e., when the leaves begin to roll or showother signs of wilt, when the grass does notspring back when stepped on and/or when ittakes on a dull, grey-green appearance. Mostlawns require only about 1 to 1.5 inches ofwater, or enough to wet the soil to a depth of 4to 6 inches, every 5 to 7 days during thegrowing season.• Water slowly and thoroughly, rather thanfrequently, to encourage root system growth andavoid runoff. Too much water can overload the soil so that air 9
  • 12. • Place sprinklers near the top of a slope to avoid runoff on • Use a sprinkler that applies water as slowly as possible.sloping areas. Apply water slowly for 5 to 15 minutes, then turn it Use a sprinkler that distributes large droplets on a low trajec-off 15 minutes, then on again for 5 to 15 minutes, etc. until the tory close to the ground and/or one that simulates a gentlecorrect amount of water has been applied. rain, rather than a fine mist which is more easily lost to evaporation.• Water during the early morning hours when temperaturesand wind speed are relatively low. The next best time to water is • Condition soil with mulch, compost or related materialsright after the sun sets; however, watering too late in the before planting to promote water penetration and retention inevening or at night can encourage the growth of fungus. Evapo- grass and flowerration can be up to 60% higher during the heat of the day. beds. If the soil• Position sprinklers to water the lawn, not the pavement. is rocky, shallow or a• Avoid watering during high winds. This increases evapora- heavy clay,tion and causes water from sprinklers to fall unevenly or blow add 2 to 4onto sidewalks, driveways and streets. inches of organic material (such as How much water does my sprinkler peat, com- apply? ....Find out. post, decom- posed rice hulls 1. Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and and rotted manure) or topsoil which is compatible with the soil water-using appliances. type. Soil composed of heavy clay or fine sand can be im- 2. Set 3 to 5 empty cans at different distances from the sprinkler proved by tilling organic material into it. with the last can near the edge of sprinkler coverage; 3. Run the sprinkler for 30 minutes; • Group landscape plants according to their water needs to 4. Add the inches of water in all cans and divide the total inches avoid overwatering certain plants. Water turf areas separately by the number of cans to obtain an average; then from shrubs, flowerbeds and other plantings. Turf areas are 5. Multiply the average by 2 to determine how many inches of best watered with sprinklers while trees, shrubs, garden water are applied in 1 hour. flowers and ground covers are more efficiently watered with low 10
  • 13. provide thorough, but infrequent, watering and shut it off during moderate or heavy rain events or during wet periods. Check sprinkler systems and timing devices at regular intervals. Watch for broken or misdirected sprinklers. • Aerate lawns to allow water easier access to roots. Punch holes six inches apart. Apply surfactants (wetting agents) and/orvolume drop, spray or bubbler emitters. Use native, adapted aerate your lawn to improve the soil/water infiltration rate.and other low water-use plants. • Fertilize lawns at least twice a year (lightly in the spring, then• Replace turf and vegetation in seldom-used side and front again in the early fall) to stimulate root development, but do notyard areas with attractive rocks, gravel, wood chips or other overfertilize. Grass with a good root system makes better use ofmaterials that require no water. water and is more tolerant to drought. Overfertilization increases the lawn’s need for water. Use a slow-release, less soluble• Use and maintain the proper outdoor nitrogen fertilizer to reduce water requirements. A fertilizer with awatering equipment. Use hose washers 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) --between spigots and water hoses to such as 15-5-10 -- is recommended to help grass withstandeliminate leaks; check connections stress.regularly. Be familiar with the operation ofyour automatic sprinkler system and • Mow grass at a higher level, at least two to three inches, toadjust it according to the season. Set it to reduce evaporation and root stress. Cut grass fairly often with a sharp blade and not to less than one-third of the original height. 11
  • 14. • Use a mulching mower watering. It greatly reduces evaporation and eliminates deep that leaves grass clippings percolation. Because drip irrigation requires only moderate on the lawn. Mulching amounts of water and energy, operating costs are relatively low. helps grass retain water Drip irrigation inhibits weed growth and, with proper scheduling, and reduces the amount eliminates plant stress. It also allows successful irrigation of of fertilizer needed to steep slopes and problem soils. maintain a healthy and attractive lawn. • Eliminate weeds when they occur to reduce competition for water. • Control insects and other pests that can damage • Check the soil mois-grass, but don’t over-apply pesticides. ture before watering. While the surface may be dry, adequate moisture may beTREES, SHRUBS, VEGETABLES, retained just beneathFLOWER GARDENS AND GROUNDCOVER the surface.• Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to water trees, • Water small trees,gardens, landscapes, shrubs orvineyards, orchards groundcover byand all types of flooding diked areas orvegetation that have through placement ofa higher water low-output sprinklerrequirement than heads, bubblers or dripgrass. Drip irrigation irrigation systems closeapplies water to the roots of plants ordirectly to the roots, underground. Use soilproviding an efficient moisture probes (tensiom-and uniform method of eters) for large trees. 12
  • 15. • Shape the soil around large plants and trees into earthen slow erosion, as well as add a decorative appearance to thebasins to catch and retain water. Keep soil loose to allow easy landscape.penetration of water. • Mulch to reduce evaporation. A two- to three-inch layer of• Water plants growing in full sun more often than those in wood chips, pine needles, grass clippings or straw aroundthe shade. plants and between rows holds moisture and keeps the soil cool in summer. Mulch also increases the attractiveness of• Water established plants about once a week during the your landscape and retards weed growth.summer, applying enough water to wet the soil to a depth of atleast 12 inches. New plantings require more frequent watering • Don’t fertilize during the summer. Fertilizing increases theduring the first two years, although watering can be reduced up need for half after establishment. • Plant in the fall or spring when water requirements are• Use mulches in flower and shrub beds. Mulches cover and generally low.shade soil, minimize evaporation, reduce weed growth and • Choose native plants or species with low water demand when planting groundcovers, shrubs and trees in your land- scape. In addition to requiring less water after the first two years of establishment, native plants normally need less maintenance and fertilizer than imported species and have fewer problems with pests, diseases and extreme weather conditions. OTHER OUTDOOR AREAS • Clean your swimming pool filter often to reduce the frequency of water replacement. Run the filter backwash from pools and hot tubs onto the lawn rather than down the street or storm sewer. Consider replacing an older filter with a newer, 13
  • 16. water-saving model that typically uses 180 to 250 gallons less • When washing your car or boat, use a bucket of soapyduring a single back-flushing. Cover hot tubs and pools when water and the hose only for rinsing. If you take your car to anot in use to reduce evaporation. commercial wash, choose one that recycles water.• During water shortages and rationing, cut back on thefrequency of watering lawn and inedible plants. Lawns can godormant and turn brown without being permanently damaged.Provide only minimal amounts of water to vegetable gardensand food trees on an individual basis. Give priority to trees andshrubs that are more expensive and harder to replace thangrass and annual plants. Delay seeding or sodding of newlawns. Discourage children from playing with hoses, sprinklersor water toys. Limit car washing. Save rainwater or usedhousehold water (from bathing, dishwashing and clotheswashing) for outside watering, if permitted by local healthofficials. 14
  • 17. AWATER CONSERVATION changes in traditional water use methods. Many producers plant crops that require less water (or those that have shorter griculture growing seasons), adopt conservation-minded irrigation tech- niques, capture and reuse runoff, and implement various other Farmers and ranchers throughout the U.S., especially in the water-efficient practices. However, no single procedure canwest, are currently facing numerous water-related challenges solve all of the water quantity and quality problems confrontingwhich, depending upon how they respond, will forever dictate irrigated agriculture; additional research and development ofthe future of agriculture in this country. Intensified competition innovative irrigation technologies is imperative to continuedfor limited water supplies, episodes of intermittent drought less success of the industry. Advanced methods that allow precisefavorable conditions for development of additional supplies and water and soil moisture management, fully automated irrigationvarious economic factors are just a few obstacles which must and use of reclaimed water for irrigation can stretch limitedbe overcome by the agricultural community. This situation is supplies, mitigate adverse environmental impacts and helpmagnified in Oklahoma, where the leading use of water re- farmers stay competitive in an increasingly global economy.sources is for various agricultural purposes. Irrigation accounts Continued implementation of such practices will not only resultfor approximately 42% of water withdrawals in the state (74%of groundwater withdrawals) while livestock use accounts forabout 9% of the total. Increasingly, farmers face pressure to meet more stringentenvironmental and water quality regulations related to instreamflows and wetlands requirements, possible contamination bypesticides and fertilizers, and soil erosion. At the same time,those dependent upon the Ogallala Aquifer and other groundwa-ter sources essential to Oklahoma’s agriculture industry mustcontend with potential overdraft of their water supply and theassociated increase in pumping costs as water well levelsdecline. In addition, shifting governmental policies may disruptagriculture’s past reliance on crop subsidies, federally suppliedirrigation water and exemptions from environmental regulation. Generally, irrigators have responded well to the dynamicsocial and political factors which have prompted dramatic 15
  • 18. in significant reductions in energy and operation costs, but also infiltration time is particularly important in soils with lowalso increased crop yields. permeability. Through surge irrigation, where water is applied to the furrows in a series of pulses, or surges, rather than in a continuous stream, furrow application efficiencies can be improved 10 to 40%. A time-controlled valve alternately How much water does it switches the water flow between irrigation sets. Pumpback take to make... systems may also be utilized to recover and reuse irrigation tailwater. One two-pound loaf of bread? 1,000 gallons One pair of jeans made from cotton? 1,800 gallons Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) center pivot sprin- One pound of hamburger? 4,000 gallons kler systems can achieve irrigation application efficiencies as high as 98% by applying water directly in the furrow, thus reducing losses to deep While more research is needed to develop integrated irrigation percolation, windand conservation tillage practices that maintain crop produc- drift and evapora-tion, reduce nutrient and pesticide losses, minimize water tion. Drip irriga-pollution and reduce soil evaporation losses for irrigated tion, similar toagriculture, there are many promising techniques currently the method usedavailable to Oklahoma irrigators. For example, furrow diking in home gar-conserves water by dens, employstrapping irrigation flexible tubingwater or rainwater with emitters toin small earthen apply water eitherdams. Water held at the soil surfacebetween the at plant base ordams can slowly buried below land surfaceinfiltrate into the between rows of plants. Buried drip lines have virtually nosoil, thereby surface evaporation losses. Conservation tillage, the widelyincreasing soil accepted practice of leaving crop stubble on the soil/fieldmoisture. Increasing 16
  • 19. surface, assists in both retaining soil moisture (because soil is Two basic water management approaches may benot turned over and exposed to the air) and reducing wind and applied to agricultural water conservation --water erosion. Conservation decreasing demand and increasing supply.tillage also reducescultivation costs.Many producers DEMAND MANAGEMENTutilize soil mois-ture monitoring -- These water conservation strategies may be used to stretcha relatively simple, water supplies on farms and ranches in Oklahoma:cost-effectivetechnique -- to • Reduce water deliveries through irrigation scheduling andimprove their control, understanding crop water requirements and monitoringirrigation water the moisture status of associated soil(s). Irrigate only when themanagement. Soil crop has depleted the available water in the root zone to anmoisture monitor- established level for that particular crop and soil devices, suchas gypsum blocks • Increase irrigation efficiency byand tensiometers, reducing surface water diversions orhelp producers groundwater pumping, enhancingdetermine when to deep percolation and decreasing runoff water on the field or farm.irrigate and how much water they need to apply to fill the root Consider physical measures suchzone soil profile. This helps reduce the likelihood of applying as canal lining, piping, landtoo much or too little water. Also, employment of automated leveling, control structures,water delivery allows better control of the timing and rate of terracing, and improved andwater flow from the head of the field into furrows. automated irrigation systems. An “ideal” irrigation system should store most of the applied • Reduce water evaporation bywater in the soil root zone where it is available to the crop; implementing these measures.enable each irrigation to replace nearly all of the soil water Use tank/reservoir covers to reducedeficit in the root zone; and uniformly distribute applied water to evaporation from livestock wateringall parts of the field. tanks or small reservoirs. Reduce 17
  • 20. the water surface area. Store water in deep, small reservoirs the maximum evapotranspiration demand, especially whenrather than shallow ones. For larger facilities, transfer water irrigation costs are high or water supplies are limited. You canbetween ponds so that one pond, or only a few deeper ponds, safely allow some soil water deficit or plant water stress to occur.are kept full while others are dry. Practice conservation tillage,such as no-till, reduced or minimum tillage, ridge tillage, • Time the planting of crops to match periods of high evapo-stubble mulching and other forms of residue management. transpiration with expected rainfall and carryover of stored soil moisture. Reduce soil moisture to a lower level before applying• Reduce evaporation from soil by using crop residues, irrigation water. Apply less irrigation water than can be effec-plastic mulches, etc. and tively stored in the crop root zone.installing surface drip ontree crops and subsur- • Limit irrigated cropland acreages by converting portions offace drip on row crops. irrigated cropland to dryland farming in water-short areas. U.S. Department of Agriculture• Reduce water use projections indicateby nuisance vegeta- that 10 to 30% oftion by clearing, irrigated land in thethinning and/or nation could beeradicating selected converted backriparian vegetation or to drylandphreatophytes which farming or otherutilize a considerable uses by theamount of stream 21st century.base flow. Phreato-phytes in the west- • Select drought-ern U.S. use about resistant strains of1.5 times the crops that canaverage flow of the withstand dry periods.Colorado River. • Use data on water availability and other factors to guide• Reduce crop water optimum management of energy, salinity, fertilizer, insects,requirements by etc., for a particular crop. Irrigated farms produce approxi-applying less water than mately 60% of the total crops harvested in the U.S. and approximately 60% of farm revenues. 18
  • 21. SUPPLY MANAGEMENT certain croplands by installing snow fences, implementing selective cutting and related practices. Implement cultural andConsider these suggestions to augment available supply: mechanical practices to decrease runoff and evaporation and thereby increase soil moisture storage.• Increase water supply by catching and retaining floodwatersfor release during drought or other dry times. Convey and • Increase crop rooting depths by breaking up hardpans andconfine surplus runoff to groundwater recharge areas to in- selecting crop species and varieties that are more deeplycrease water storage. rooted to expand soil moisture extraction.• Increase water yield by constructing an impermeable surface • Add to available water supply through:or treating soil to reduce infiltration 3Inter- and intrabasin transfers whichof runoff. Collect for later use. divert water from areas withRemove and/or manipulate surplus water to water-vegetative cover to in- short areas.crease runoff, decrease 3Irrigation with moder-water demand and ately saline drainagecontrol erosion on range, waters and reclamationforested and irrigated of wastewater effluentslands. for irrigation. 3Support of available• Capture and retain weather modificationprecipitation by programs.collecting snow andretarding snowmelt on 19
  • 22. BWATER CONSERVATION and others offer rebates to residents who replace older model usiness,Industry toilets with those that use less water. Even restaurants have gotten into the act by serving water to customers only on & Public Facilities Businesses, industries and local governments from coast to request and encouraging employees to conserve at thecoast have discovered that conserving water is not only eco- work site.nomical or good for the environment, it’s good business aswell. Often, even large-scale conservation measures can be Typically, largeimplemented without a decrease in productivity. Many residen- quantities oftial communities and commercial developments offer treated water are used forwastewater for irrigating landscapes. Similarly, golf courses industrial pur-irrigate with treated effluent. Electric power plants recycle water poses. As aused in the cooling process. Many communities offer free water result, waterconservation kits -- containing low-flow sink aerators, water- conservation atsaving showerhead and/or toilet dams -- to customers and large production and related facilities can pay enormoussome have adopted conservation rate structures which apply dividends. Manufacturers use less water by incorporatinghigher water rates to large water users. Local governments recycled materials into their products or by recycling waterhave also instituted building codes requiring developers to within factories. For example, producing one ton of recycledinstall water-saving plumbing fixtures in homes and buildings paper consumes 60,000 gallons less water than producing one ton of virgin paper. Also, implementation of reuse/recycle systems helps to decrease water and wastewater disposal How much water costs for individual industries. In turn, consumers who pur- does it take to make... chase and use recycled products, as well as those who conserve water and energy in their daily routine, support the S One 12-ounce can of soda? 16.5 gallons efforts of conscientious manufacturers and, ultimately, ensure S Forty sheets of paper? 100 gallons the availability of water for all water users. S One ton of finished steel for an automobile? 32,000 gallons 20
  • 23. The following tips for industries, businesses and public • Ensure that valves and solenoids which control waterfacilities can result in substantial water savings: flows are shut off completely when the water-using cycle is not engaged.• Identify and repair leaky fixtures and water-using equip-ment. Give special attention to equipment connected directly to • Consider treated wastewater for irrigation of parks, golfwater lines, such as processing machines, steam-using courses and other public facilities that use large quantities ofmachines, washing machines, water-cooled air conditioners water. In landscaping designs, include native and/or water-and furnaces. efficient vegetation.• Install toilet tank displacement inserts;place flow restrictors in shower heads andfaucets; and close down automaticflushes overnight.• Shorten rinse cycles for laundrymachines as much as possible;implement lower water levels wherepossible.• For processing, cooling and otheruses, either reuse water or use waterfrom sources that would not adverselyaffect local public water supplies.• Install automatic flushing valves touse as little water as possible or tocycle at longer intervals. 21
  • 24. •Adjust equipment to use the minimum amount of waterrequired to achieve its stated purpose.•Check meters frequently to determine consumptionpatterns and review usage patterns to identify where savingscan be made.•Promote water conservation at the workplace and in thecommunity. Utilize newsletters, brochures and bulletin boardsto get the message out. Place water-saving posters andliterature where employees, students, patients, customers andothers will see and have access to them.•Set a good example by using native and/or water-efficientvegetation around public and private buildings. 22
  • 25. C onclusion Oklahoma is truly blessed with abundant water resources. Generous supplies are available fordrinking and domestic use, industry, agriculture, power generation and countless other pur-poses. In its many forms, water provides the base for our vibrant agricultural industry and is thecommon factor upon which our large cities, small communities and rural areas continue to existand thrive. Moreover, clean and plentiful water supplies are imperative to the health and welfare ofOklahoma’s 3 million plus citizens. How we parlay our water resources to benefit the greatestnumber of state citizens, for both economic developmentbenefits and individual water needs, is of critical importance tothe future growth and well-being of our state. As Oklahomacitizens, it isincumbent uponeach of us to be asteward of the ourwater resources.Conservation is themost direct waythrough which wecan demonstratethis stewardship,so please.............. ..... conserve your water resources! 23
  • 26. B ibliographyAmerican Water and Energy Savers, Inc., “Awesome Savings -- 49 Ways to Save Water,” April 1997.Environmental and Energy Study Institute, “The Role of Improved Irrigation Technologies in Helping Farmers Meet Environmental and Economic Challenges,” February 1997.High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, “Urban, Agricultural Water Conservation Tips Offered by District,” The Cross Section, June 1996.Hoffman, Glenn J., Howell, Terry A., Solomon, Kenneth H., American Society of Agricultural Engineers, ”Management of Farm Irrigation Systems,” December 1990.Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, Division of Water, “Kentucky Water Shortage Response Plan,” Revised August 1987.Lurry, D.L., Tortorelli, R.L., United States Department of Interior, United States Geological Survey; Oklahoma Water Resources Board, “Estimated Freshwater Withdrawals in Oklahoma,” 1990, Water Resources Investigations Report 95-4276, 1995.North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, “Water Management Checklist for the Home,” 1985.North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, “Water Watch, Saving Water and Saving Energy,” 1981.Southwest Florida Water Management District, “Conserve Water -- Do Your Part,” April 1997.Southwest Florida Water Management District, “Do Your Part -- Irrigate Smart,” April 1997.Texas Water Development Board, “A Homeowner’s Guide to Water Use and Water Conservation,” May 1990.”Texas Water Development Board, “Drip Irrigation,” Publication TWDB WC-8.Texas Water Development Board, “How to Save Water Inside the Home,” May 1990.Texas Water Development Board, “How to Save Water Outside the Home,” May 1990.Texas Water Development Board, “Water, Half-a-Hundred Ways to Save It!,” May 1990.The Watercourse and Western Regional Environmental Education Council, “Project Wet Curriculum and Activity Guide,” 1995.Water Education Foundation of California, “Layperson’s Guide to Water Conservation,” Updated 1986. 25