Let’s Reduce Our Water Use…Together


BosworthColHeadshot“Save 15 percent.” When posted in the window of our favorite store, it is a sign that often makes us drop everything to take advantage of a great deal. But now, Save 15 is a concept that’s being presented by the Port Washington Water District as it encourages residents and commercial business owners to reduce water usage by 15 percent during irrigation season.

In the summer, it’s common to see homeowners watering their lawns and plants in order to keep them green and healthy. With temperatures on the rise, water usage typically increases, especially outdoor irrigation water. Today, we know that water is one of our most precious commodities on the planet. Therefore, it’s crucial that we manage our use of water, even during extreme heat.

Water is a resource that doesn’t care about lines on maps, borders or party affiliations, and that’s why it’s so critical that we work together at all levels of government to assure that we have sufficient water for our future. That future is fast approaching and it’s of great concern. Water shortages and droughts are not the stuff of futuristic science fiction. It’s here. California is suffering its fifth year of drought and it’s changing the way people think about the way they use water. There is not an endless supply. We need to bring a little of that “California water wisdom” to our neighborhoods.

It starts with educating our residents about ways to conserve water and become more aware of the wasteful water usage habits we all have. I believe that once people become more aware, they will adjust their water usage and form new habits that use less water. We can and will reduce our usage!

North Hempstead has been a leader on water-saving initiatives for many years. We conduct a class at our Clark Botanic Garden that teaches residents how to conserve water with the simple purchase of a 50-gallon rain barrel which can capture as much as 1,800 gallons of water. This water can be used to water plants, shrubs and lawns. We also offer a class on how to Plant a Rain Garden, a specialty garden that is positioned near a water run-off source and keeps the fresh rainwater out of the sewer system and in the ground. And later this summer, we will be installing the first Demonstration Rain Garden at Clark, which will serve as a wonderful educational tool for visitors.

I would not ask residents to take any challenge that the town was not ready to take on as well. We stand with you. The town is a large water user. We have been and will continue to take a hard look at our water usage and take every opportunity available to reduce it further.

BosworthColWaterAAt the 450-acre Harbor Links Golf Course, which serves residents town wide, we have already initiated a host of changes to cut down on water consumption, including:

• Using digital moisture meters on greens to tell us when it needs water rather than just watering whether it needs it or not.

• Using “wetting agents” when watering, which helps the turf retain moisture.

• Converting some of the “rough” areas of the course into native planting areas that do not need irrigation.

• Targeting our sprinklers more efficiently to use less water and to only water the sections of the golf course that need it.

• Hand watering any “hot spot” sections of the course during the day, rather than using the sprinkler system.

As we move towards the future at Harbor Links, we are also looking to construct a second holding reservoir, which we know will help us drastically reduce the amount of water we need to purchase. We will be including this in our 2017 capital plan.

I am also encouraged about our water conservation efforts at a new park we are now in the process of building, Petrus Park in Port Washington. The park was designed using smart irrigation, which means we only irrigate a few areas of the park and landscape the remaining areas using low-moisture dependent plants. The proposed irrigation system will use rain gauge sensors and will feature pervious asphalt pavement on the trails to infiltrate storm water on-site.

The town is also addressing storm-water management, landscaping and irrigation through our Planning Department and code requirements. We have modified our old requirements, which called for everything to be hard piped to concrete structures, and have been allowing swales, rain gardens and retention ponds. In addition, all new construction must feature low-flow fixtures and water-efficient design. For all high-volume consumers, like hotels, multifamily residences, hospitals/medical offices, we get a detailed water-conservation plan.

We also include a water-saving tip for residents in all our town-wide newsletters, so that residents can integrate water conservation into their everyday lives.

Our town and the Port Washington Water District have been at the forefront of water conservation, and I look forward to continuing to working together to Save 15.

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