The Suffolk County Water Authority this summer is joining the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection and dozens of dedicated organizations in urging Long Islanders to take steps to conserve water. The “Our Water Our Lives” campaign is currently underway to help Long Islanders understand the value of our precious drinking water supply and the easy steps you can take every day to preserve it for current and future residents.

You’ll also find the announcement of the new water conservation campaign just announced by the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP). Their goal is “to preserve Li’s greatest natural resource”. There are remarks worth reading by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other leaders on why conserving water is so important to Long Island. Be sure to visit the campaign website for more helpful water-saving advice.

Please take a minute to go to ourwaterourlives.com to take the pledge and learn what you can do to save water. You’ll not only be taking part in a communal effort to preserve the underground aquifer system that provides 100% of our drinking water, but you’ll save money on your water bill, too.

“We have beneath our feet an incredible natural resource that provides drinking water for Long Islanders from Great Neck to Montauk and it’s imperative that we engage with the public to make sure they use our water resources wisely,” said LICAP Vice Chair Paul Granger. “This comprehensive campaign will help ensure the Long Islanders are aware of the easy steps they can take to save water, save money and save our sole source aquifer.” The Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP, Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone and concerned stakeholders from all over Long Island unveiled a comprehensive media campaign to launch a long-term effort to encourage Long Islanders to conserve the sole source aquifer system that provides 100% of Long Island’s drinking water.

Why Do We Need To Conserve Water?

In much of the world freshwater is a scarce commodity. Of all water on earth, only 3% is freshwater, and only 1% is accessible and useable by humans. In many parts of the world, freshwater means life…or death. “We are lucky. Long Island sits on top of a giant aquifer…with enough water to supply all our needs. And yet, we cannot continue to take that luck for granted. Even today you can read about wells contaminated with dangerous chemicals, and while there are plans being developed to cleanse the wells, it will be expensive and time-consuming.

Fortunately for Suffolk County residents, the majority of those problem wells are to the west of us, but it has to be a wake-up call.  We all need to do our part to help make sure that future generations have the same access to clean water that we do today. We take our water too much for granted, and waste far more than we should. We need to start using water more efficiently and saving more for future generations.

In this section of the Westhampton Beach Village web site, you will find a number of simple steps that you can take to use water more wisely…. saving water and money too.  Copies are available in the Westhampton Beach Village Hall.

Lawn Tips: 

In the spring when you put your hoses out, wrap the treads with thread seal tape (thin white tape, about $1 in any hardware store). Makes a stronger seal and virtually eliminates leaks. A leaky connection can waste nearly a hundred gallons of water in a month!

Don’t rush to start watering your lawn too early in the season. Barring very unusual weather, there is seldom a reason to irrigate before June in Suffolk County. The weather is normally cool and there is lots of rain.

If your lawn is thick with a dense cover of grass, you probably don’t need a spring fertilizer. The lawn is getting enough nutrients from the soil, grass mulch and a late season feeding.

For a great yard, you need a great root system. Nutrients released from the soil, grass clipping mulch and a late season feeding will promote strong root growth. Too much water, though, will make the root system weak.

Remember – Suffolk County gets almost 1 inch of rain a week during the growing season, and lawns only need 1-1.5 inches of rain a week. The math is simple. Water, but don’t over water. Lawns survive well.

If you think your lawn needs water, test it by walking on it. If the grass bounces back a few steps later, then it’s just fine. If your footprints remain, you may need some water. … but don’t over-do it… and check to see if rain is forecast first.

Use native plants in your landscape. They require less care and water than ornamental varieties. Your garden center or landscaper can give you good advice… and remember to ask about deer-resistant varieties.

In heavily shaded areas, try shade tolerant perennials, annuals, and ground covers……ferns and others. *

In sunny areas, you can plant wildflowers, junipers and sedum. *

            *This is just a short starting list… but remember……… deer resistant does NOT mean deer-proof. Deer will sample almost anything.

               Be prepared.    Use products like Deer-Off and spray frequently. 

Switch to drip irrigation for watering shrubs. Drip irrigation is much more efficient than sprinklers, are reasonable inexpensive and easy to set up.

When you water trees and bushes, don’t water at the trunk or on leaves. Water under the edge of the leaf canopy, which is called the drip line, that’s where the roots are.

If you do your own fertilizing ………….

To fertilize properly talk to an expert or read the bag carefully. There will be 3 numbers on the front of the bag: the first will be for Nitrogen, the second for Phosphorus and the third for Potassium. Unless you have a new lawn or have tests showing that you specifically need Phosphorus, the middle number should be O (zero). Phosphorus is a major pollutant in waterways, harming fish and causing closures for swimming.

By Suffolk County Law, you cannot apply any fertilizer between November 1 and April 1. Do not fertilize when heavy rain is expected. After applying, lightly water (1/4 inch) to get fertilizer off the blades and into the soil.

There are lots of ways to cut water use. Here are just a few simple steps that will save hundreds of gallons of water each month.

You can save a lot of water if you just shut the tap off while you are brushing your teeth! And if you have children,, you’ll save a great amount of water that way.

Taking a shower can be relaxing, but just don’t overdo it. Try to make it a five minute shower.

Run your dishwasher when it’s full. Energy Star washers use less water and save energy (and money).

Same with your clothes washer… run full loads.

Soak posts and pans instead of running water while you are washing them.

Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water over them from the tap.

Use the water after washing fruits and vegetables to water your house plants.

Don’t use running water to thaw food. For efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.

Install an instant water heater near the sink, so you don’t have to run the water until it gets hot. This also saves energy.

Keep a pitcher of water for drinking in the refrigerator. This way every drop goes down you and not down the drain.

Pick the proper pan size for cooking so you don’t use more water than necessary.

Other home tips: 

To save money and get hot water faster, insulate your hot water pipes. Easy to install foam tube insulation is available in hardware stores. The insulation tubes come in different sizes and are split lengthwise with tape in the cut to hold it together. Just snaps right over the pipes and seals itself.

Use a hose nozzle or turn the water on and off when washing the car. You’ll save as much as 100 gallons each time!

Know where your master water shut off valve is located. If you have a burst pipe or other water problem, you can reduce the damage by acting quickly.

Remember to winterize your outside faucets, or you can have burst pipes. Take off the hoses and drain them. Shut off the main valves to the outside faucets and then open the faucet. No freezing pipes!

Don’t forget to go to the SCWA website ourwaterourlives.com to learn more about saving water.