County Leaders: Inefficient Lawn Watering is Threatening LI’s Water Supply

Pictured Above: At the kickoff for the Smart Lawn Watering Campaign: Back Row (L-R):  Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, Nassau County Deputy County Executive Brian Schneider, Mike Dwyer, Irrigation Association of New York.  Front Row: Paul Granger, LICAP Chair, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Suffolk County  Legislator Mazzarella.

During the height of summer heat waves, the East End’s lawn sprinkler systems have become a drain on public water resources, which are not a limitless resource.

The Suffolk County Water Authority reports that 70 percent of the water they pump is for outdoor use, most of which is for lawn irrigation, and that, due to inefficient irrigation practices like overwatering and watering at the wrong time, a considerable portion of this water is wasted.

“I can tell you from my years of experience in the water supply industry that we know where the vast majority of our water is being used. It’s no secret. It’s spring and summer lawn watering,” said Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP) Chairman Paul Granger, who has a long history of running municipal water districts on Long Island. “It is imperative that we change our habits when it comes to excessive lawn watering on Long Island.” 

On July 12, LICAP and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski of the North Fork announced a new initiative to draw attention to the benefits of “Smart Lawn Watering,” as part of LICAP’s Our Water Our Lives Campaign.

Mr. Krupski, a farmer from Cutchogue, sponsored legislation designating July Smart Lawn Water Month in Suffolk County.

“To see lawns being irrigated during a rain storm, or in the midday heat, shows us measures must be adopted, particularly when it comes to lawn irrigation, so we can responsibly and sustainably preserve our water resources for future generations,” said Mr. Krupski. “We as a community must take every opportunity to recharge our aquifer. Although we had very heavy rains this month, this will not always be the case. Weather patterns are changing, and less frequent but more intense precipitation events are predicted. Preserving land and  improving stormwater infrastructure will certainly help recharge our aquifer, so water is recharged, rather than running off into our bays, creeks and estuaries, carrying with it bacteria and pollution.” 

In addition to a multi-media campaign, the initiative will include in-person public outreach and education efforts. Throughout the summer, LICAP volunteers will be stationed at various Suffolk and Nassau venues, such as beaches, parks and events, where they will offer educational materials, tips on water conservation, and information on how Suffolk County homeowners can receive a $50 credit on their water bill by purchasing water saving devices. 

At each venue, anyone visiting the Our Water Our Livers table who takes the pledge to conserve water will receive a free Our Water Our Lives beach towel, t-shirt or Frisbee, and is entered to win a smart irrigation controller, valued at $90. 

For more information on how to implement smart irrigation practices and save water in your daily life, visit ourwaterourlives.com.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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