Summer temperatures around the globe in 2023 are shaping up to be the highest measured in all of recorded history. Farmers in Iraq — formerly Mesopotamia (a word meaning “between rivers”), the birthplace of human civilization — are moving away because of drought. Here in the United States, where lush lawns are still in style, homeowners are using more water than ever to keep their grass green. As every self managed HOA is aware, the increasing demand for water can get expensive with temperatures hovering around 100°F for weeks at a time. Expense is only one aspect of responsible irrigation; water is a finite resource, after all, especially if you live in a more arid part of the country. Let’s discuss self managed HOA water conservation during the oppressive heat of the summer season.
Self Managed HOA Restrictions
Excessive water use is an issue felt by homeowners and homeowners’ associations alike. Most self managed HOA regulations address the use of water for homeowners’ lawns and gardens. Rules put in place for which days to water, according to a home’s street number, and during which hours to water are effective as a starting point. But time-based rules are only the beginning. With a bit of thought, and if a self managed HOA has the means, some investment can save a lot more water.
Efficient and Smart Irrigation
Once a self managed HOA has water restriction regulations in place, the next step in saving water might be to examine its irrigation system. Neighborhood common areas often consist of relatively large areas with lawns, trees, and ornamental shrubbery. How old are the systems that supply water? Older systems may have leaky seals or cracks in the plumbing that allow water to seep into the soil where it’s not needed. Irrigation systems can be damaged by digging and heavy vehicles passing over them as well. Newer systems are generally more efficient and usually include the option of electronics to manage the schedule of watering and track the amount of water used, and where. Smart irrigation systems planned carefully can economize and optimize water use.
Although the conventional way of landscaping in many areas of the country involves lush, green lawns and flowering plants, other options might be worth considering, especially in arid environments. Drought-resistant landscaping can range from something as simple as using mulch, rocks or gravel, and fabrics to minimize evaporation or switching to plants that require less water to survive.
People in arid parts of the country are feeling the water shortage. In areas where lawns once covered most neighborhoods, xeriscaping is gaining popularity. For those not familiar with it, xeriscaping involves creating attractive environments using gravel, sand, stone, and wood to replace thirsty green plants. As water becomes more scarce, cultivating tropical plants in arid places makes less sense. Why not try cacti and other succulents that are well adapted to thriving without much water?
Choosing Native Plants
Another strategy is getting educated on what plants are native to the area at your self managed HOA. The traditional one-species lawn often installs a type of grass that’s not native, chosen for its appearance alone. Choosing ground cover that grows naturally in the area in question will automatically save water. Native plants often thrive best with a sort of benevolent neglect—just letting them do what they do in nature. Talk to a local nursery or horticulturist to learn which species thrive in your area, and encourage its planting among homeowners.
In places where it doesn’t rain much, the occasional downpour can be a deluge. Why not capture some of that water for later use? Rainwater harvesting is a smart way to save what water arrives from your environment. A self managed HOA and self managed HOA software can help homeowners organize community-wide rainwater harvesting. This can involve installing rain barrels to collect runoff from every building. Water captured this way can be used to water individual properties or aggregated into large cisterns for community use. When precious water falls from the sky, make the most of it.
Pool Covers and Mulch
Evaporation is a surprisingly wasteful process. Swimming pools are the most obvious example of where water evaporates the most. Pool covers can save an amazing volume of water over time. Even if a pool is covered only at night and during hours when it’s not used, covering standing water is an effective way to prevent a lot of evaporation.
Using mulch and ground cloth beneath it is another way to save water. This combination reduces evaporation from the soil, absorbs more moisture, and holds it longer than bare soil would.
Indoor Water Conservation Tips
Like antique irrigation systems, older indoor appliances can also waste water. We often use more water than we need to for simple daily tasks like hygiene, cleaning, and dishwashing.
Upgrading to water-efficient appliances and fixtures can save gallons of water every day. Low-flow toilets, long present in other countries, are becoming more popular in the United States with the rising cost and increasing scarcity of water. Likewise, faucets and shower heads can be fitted with more economical low-flow systems that save water while still allowing us to get the job done.
Self Managed HOA Software
Self managed HOA software can facilitate communication between residents, spread awareness, and easily share tips for more mindful water use. Some tips:
- Set a timer for showers.
- Establish a lawn watering schedule.
- Install low-flow fixtures.
- Capture rainwater.
- Don’t let water run continuously for toothbrushing and handwashing.
Leak Detection and Repair
Have you noticed an unexplained rise in water use? You may have a leak. Most of us get a water bill once per month, so a leak can make a big difference in how much we pay. And that bill can spike quickly. Whether it’s a person planting a tree with a shovel or a maintenance vehicle cracking an underground pipe, leaks can happen any time. It’s important to detect leaks as quickly as possible.
With self managed HOA software, residents can report leaks instantly in the community, and the problem can be corrected. This can avoid flooding, property damage, and waste of resources.
The Role of Self-Managed HOA Software in Water Conservation
Self managed HOA software is the ideal tool for facilitating communication and education in your community. It can help:
- Distribute water conservation tips and other resources for homeowners.
- Facilitate discussions about how to make a community more sustainable and environment-friendly.
- Share knowledge and promote constant improvement with message boards.
- Distribute alerts whenever regulations change.
PayHOA’s self managed HOA software is designed to meet the needs of communities and HOAs of any size, in any location. Call to set up an introductory call and discover how PayHOA can empower your self managed HOA to more easily tackle tasks such as processing payments, managing units, and maintaining attractive outdoor spaces. PayHOA’s self managed HOA software is intuitive, affordable, and easy to use.
Check it out while you enjoy a cool glass of water—it’s hot out there.