What soil and water conservation measures do you apply to your daily life? Learning how to properly manage these resources is a very important skill to have especially now that we're facing a health crisis.
After all, your goal should be to live sustainably. And you can’t do so if your household expends too many resources on a daily basis.
Not sure how to start conserving soil and water? Don’t worry! Here's a list of techniques you can try out. These are techniques you can apply whether you're a beginner looking into sustainable living, a seasoned homesteader with a self-sustaining garden, or someone in between.
RELATED: The Agricultural & Water Conservation Conversation
In this article:
7 Effective Soil and Water Conservation Tips Everyone Should Know
Soil Conservation Techniques
Too many people take soil for granted. Unlike water, gas, and oil, soil isn't regarded as something you'd need to preserve. After all, it's is all around us.
Homesteaders need to remember that soil is a non-renewable resource as well. In fact, it’s more finite than water. With the growing demand for both shelter and food, we’ll run out of usable soil soon if we‘re not careful.
That’s why we need to use soil as efficiently as possible. Some ways one can do so are by:
1. Using Less Concrete
Impervious surfaces such as concrete driveways and pathways do not absorb water. Rather, it flows freely on top of it. This disrupts natural surface runoff by allowing it to gain momentum. Once the flow speeds up, it’ll lead to soil erosion in lakeshores and riverbanks.
To resolve this, try using lesser concrete surfaces. And if you really have to use concrete flooring on your outdoor living space, use paving stones. This type of flooring has gaps wherein water can seep through the soil.
2. Creating a Rain Barrel
Roof runoff is very strong. Once the stream of wastewater hits the ground, it causes soil erosion and ruins your soil's overall health. The soil might even get damaged to the point where it can't absorb water anymore.
To prevent that, create a rain barrel. Every time it rains, place a large empty drum under the roofing where roof runoff tends to flow down from. By preventing rainwater from splashing on the ground, your soil remains intact.
Afterward, you can use the rainwater you collected for various purposes such as watering plants, flushing toilets, and feeding livestock.
3. Planting Rain Gardens
Make use of the depressed areas in your lawn by turning them into rain gardens. These are natural basins that collect rainwater, primarily roof runoff, and drain them properly. This prevents rainwater from flooding your yard.
When building a rain garden, it's best to keep the dips shallow. Digging holes that are too deep will pool rainwater rather than drain it.
Water Conservation Techniques
Is water a renewable or non-renewable resource? Well, it depends. Technically, it’s a renewable resource because you can filter the harmful minerals, chemicals, and contaminants from the rainwater collected in dams.
However, during dry, hot summer seasons, there’s the risk of cities’ dams and tanks running dry. If we’re not careful, it’s not impossible for an entire city or town to run out of clean water.
That’s why need to be cautious about how we use water, especially during the low rainfall period. Here are some simple, effective tips you can try.
RELATED: 39 Stunning Drought-Tolerant Plants For Low-Maintenance Landscapes
4. Modernize Outdoor Living Space
Having a miniature jungle in your yard filled with various flowers, grass, and trees might seem like a fun idea, but it's very costly to maintain. In fact, just watering them could already set you back by a few grand every year. To avoid that, opt to modernize your yard with outdoor additions.
Not only do they reduce the number of plants you need to water, but they also maximize your outdoor living space by providing new features. A yard with a full deck and patio is a lot more useful than one with nothing but grass, right?
5. Use Less Kitchenware and Diningware
The average homeowner uses around six gallons of water when washing the dishes. If you have three full meals with your family, then you're expending nearly 20 gallons of water daily. That's a lot of water just for dishwashing, right?
What you can do to reduce the amount of water you use to wash dishes include:
- using lesser plates, silverware, and cooking ware
- washing the dishes with a weak stream of water
- scrubbing the plates in a basin rather than in running water
Pro Tip: Don't throw away the water you washed the dishes with. You can use them to flush the toilets or clean the drainage system.
6. Grow Low-Maintenance Plants
Canna, irises, and pickerelweed might look nice in your garden, but don't plant too much of them because they need a lot of water to survive. Instead, go for plants that have a high tolerance for drought such as:
- Blanket Flowers
- Rock Soapwort
- Lavender Cotton
- Rose Campion
- Globe Thistle
- Rock Daisy
- Red Valerian
7. Repair All Plumbing Leaks and Defects
Make sure you do a routine check of your plumbing system at least once every year for leaks and defects. Even the smallest issues can lead to hundreds of wasted dollars. Plus, if left alone, they can quickly spread throughout your entire system.
Why is soil important? Learn more from Syngenta:
These are just some of the soil and water conservation methods homesteaders can try out. Don’t be afraid to explore other options.
Overall, the key to effective soil and water conservation is awareness. Learn the value of the resources you use, appreciate them, and you’ll naturally come up with new ways to live more efficiently.
What soil and water conservation techniques do you apply to your daily life? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!
Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!
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