With the record-breaking heat wave comes added pressure on water consumption. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water every day, and during the summer, outdoor water use pushes consumption in excess of 200 gallons of water a day. The Township of Livingston urges residents to be mindful of water usage in order to protect this precious resource and also to save money on water bills.

Livingston Ordinance 26-2003 is a year-round policy that utilizes an odd-even watering restriction for lawns with some exceptions; for installation or repair of lawn irrigation system, following treatment of fertilizers, pesticide or herbicides, and for newly sod lawns or newly seeded grass lawns.  There are no restrictions on watering plants, trees, and shrubs, but water use can be reduced at least 30 per cent by taking a few simple steps:

1) Water the garden during the early hours, or cool evening hours to maximize absorption of water, reduce evaporation, and minimize burning to plants, trees, and shrubs from refracted sunlight.

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2) Water flowers with rain collected from the gutter downspout into a rain barrel. The Livingston Living Green offers rain barrel workshops throughout the year as well as other water saving tips.

3) Water the root zone, not the foliage to reduce plant diseases, and be careful not to overwater. On average, the garden receives at least 1 inch in rain fall per week.

4) Use 30 – 50 per cent less water with drip irrigation and micro-sprays compared to the use of sprinklers.

5) Use native plants that survive best in local conditions, drought-tolerant grass such as tall fescues, and mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and water-consuming weeds.

6) If you have a pool, use a water-saving filter, avoid recreational toys that require a constant stream of water, and cover the pool to reduce evaporation when not in use.

7) Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off, and use a bucket to wash the car, or use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Visit the Township of Livingston website http://www.livingstonnj.org . Click on Water in the left hand column for tips on water saving devices. Or click on Living Green and scroll down to Living Green Team. Click on the link for tips on a variety of topics including water conservation and recycling. For additional information on programs and resources to help conserve water, visit the Department of Environmental Protection website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/conserve.htm.