Skip to main content

Regional Water Efficiency Program - Key Messages for Spring-Summer 2021

Rancho Murietans,

Why use water efficiently?

California is experiencing a second dry year in a row. While the Sacramento region is not in a drought emergency, the continued dry weather is a stark reminder that droughts are a part of life in California, and the next dry year is always right around the corner.

We’re asking everyone to use water efficiently, especially outdoors, where most household water use occurs.

Efficient watering grows healthier plants

  • ·Properly and efficiently watering your landscape will not only help you use water wisely, it will also keep your plants healthier.
  • ·They’ll get the right amount of water they need, and you’ll make sure every drop counts.

Most water use occurs outdoors:

 In the Sacramento region, most of the water we use daily goes on lawns and outdoor landscaping,[1] and about 30 percent of that is lost due to overwatering and evaporation[2].

  • There are lots of ways to save water at home, but using water efficiently outdoors can make the biggest difference of all.

Primary call to action: Check before you water

The best and most accurate way to know if your yard needs water is to check the soil’s moisture level. Here are some ways to check:

·         Use a moisture meter. This is the most effective way to tell if you need to water your yard. Moisture meters feature an easy-to-read dial that indicates if the soil is dry, moist or wet. Simply push the moisture meter into the soil six to eight inches deep and check the reading. Make sure to check a few different spots in your yard and your potted plants as well; and then water accordingly, according to your water provider’s schedule.

·         Do the screwdriver test. Stick an eight-inch screwdriver into the soil. If you can push it in more than three inches below the surface, you don’t need to water.

·         Dig down six to eight inches with a small shovel or trowel and grab a handful of soil. Roll the soil around in the palm of your hand. If the soil easily forms a ball in your hand, you don’t need to water.

[1] Per L. Maddaus, who further refined calculations for the Sacramento region in 2015, determining that 55-65 percent of household water use occurs outdoors. RWA prefers (and plans to use) the language “most water use occurs outdoors.” If pressed, RWA will cite the figure "60 percent" as being used outdoors.