A Billion Gallons of Water Being Used to Keep Lawns and Gardens Green

Plainview Water District is Committed to Reducing Irrigation Water Use this Summer

Plainview, NY (May 26, 2021)— With irrigation systems now online and causing the community’s water demand to spike significantly, the Plainview Water District (PWD) is reminding residents of their responsibility to help Preserve Plainview through water conservation. Water usage and customer bills can triple during the summer due to irrigation systems coming online. As much of the water pumped is wasted in the process due to inefficient practices, the District is reminding all residents of the ways they can help to Preserve Plainview and help create a more sustainable water supply.

“Because our sprinkler systems typically go off during the hours we are asleep, most people don’t realize how much water they are using on a daily basis,” said PWD Chairman Marc Laykind. “Our Preserve Plainview initiative aims to help our residents, not only realize just how much water their irrigation system is consuming to keep their lawn green, but provide them with the tools and tips to accomplish the same goal while using significantly less water.”

Last year, the District pumped more than 1.8 billion gallons of water to meet the needs of the 10,000 families it serves in the Plainview-Old Bethpage community. 1.1 billion gallons were pumped between May and September 2020, with most of that water being pumped between June and August. This spike of water pumpage can almost singularly be attributed to irrigation systems trying to keep up with the summer heat. This increase not only puts a strain on our region’s sole-source aquifer, but it significantly taxes the District’s supply and distribution system immensely as it tries to keep up with demand.

“It is pretty staggering when you look at the data and see how much water is being drawn from the ground to keep our lawns green,” said PWD Commissioner Amanda Field. “It is even more eye opening when you think of the massive expense this community shoulders from an infrastructure perspective just to make sure our systems have the capacity to handle this increased demand for this short period of time during the summer. Our goal with the Preserve Plainview initiative is to tell people not to water their lawns, but rather ensure they are doing so in an efficient, responsible manner.”

Installing a smart controller is the single greatest way to conserve a significant amount of water while keeping lawns and gardens healthy. By connecting with local weather stations and adjusting watering schedules based on the forecast, these systems better predict a lawn’s water needs, which is typically only an inch of water per week.

Residents are also urged to follow the Nassau County Lawn Watering Ordinances, which provide optimal times to water your lawn. The ordinance states that even-numbered homes can only water on even-numbered days, while odd-numbered homes can only water on odd-numbered days. Non-numbered homes follow the even-numbered homes schedule. It also states that no lawn watering can be done between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on any day.

The District also has more tips that can help residents promote a healthier lawn and garden this summer while also cutting back on water waste:

  • Nassau County’s ordinance also requires rain sensors on every lawn irrigation system. Make sure they are installed on your system and working properly.
  • Test your lawn irrigation system’s watering distance so that water is not hitting your house, going into the street, or beyond your property and lawn.
  • All hoses for exterior water use must be fitted with a hand-operated automatic-off nozzle valve.
  • The hosing of driveways, sidewalks, or streets is prohibited.
  • Reduce the amount of time you water during each irrigation zone.
  • Consider hiring a reputable lawn irrigation company to make sure your lawn is properly irrigated and that all of your equipment is operating efficiently.

“The adoption of water-saving technology, as well as the implementation of water conservation habits, will significantly reduce your overall water consumption,” said PWD Commissioner Andrew Bader. “Even if everyone in this community contributed to our conservation efforts in the smallest way, collectively they will have an enormous impact. Avoid the sticker shock of second, and, even more importantly, third quarter bills by implementing some of these tips into your daily routine.”

Please be advised that recent activity of monitoring well installation by the Department of Conservation (DEC) is not at all related to your drinking water. Upon recently learning about this work, we contacted the DEC and they have stated they are installing monitoring wells to sample the groundwater at depths of between 150 – 350 feet below grade. For reference, our supply wells are 500 feet or more in depth. These monitoring wells are a good thing as they provide accurate field data for tracking of a legacy spill from the former gas stations on Old Country Road and Plainview Road. The DEC projected any possible impact at over 100 years from now. The Plainview Water District is not involved in this activity, but we are monitoring its progress and will relay any information that is important for our community. Residents should rest assured that these activities DO NOT impact our supply wells and the intended purpose of a monitoring well is to ensure we know well in advance if our production facilities are to one day be impacted so we can prepare accordingly. Again, your water remains as safe as always to drink and its quality is not impacted whatsoever by this activity.

The Plainview Water District (PWD) is committed to ensuring all residents conserve water this summer and one of the ways they can do so is with responsible filling and maintenance of swimming pools. As part of its Preserve Plainview initiative, the District is providing a host of useful tips that will ensure water is not unnecessarily being wasted from a resident’s swimming pool.

“With so many residents in the Plainview-Old Bethpage community having pools, it is important to stay informed about some of the best practices for filling and maintaining their water levels,” said PWD Chairman Marc Laykind. “Each summer, millions of gallons of water are wasted due to leaks and other inefficient practices. We hope that by raising awareness about some simple measures, we can start reversing this trend and cut down on this unnecessary water waste.”

Recommended Tips for Filling Pools:

  • Check for any possible holes or leaks in the liner before filling up.
  • Don’t leave the pool unattended when it is being filled. Someone should remain present at all times to avoid overfilling and expedite shut off in case of an emergency.
    • NEVER leave a pool filling overnight.
  • Pools should be covered when not in use. Hundreds of gallons of water per month can be lost due to evaporation.
  • Only add chemicals to the pool when it is full, and add only what you need according to the pool manual. This will avoid improper levels, which would cause you to empty out and refill the pool.
  • As an additional precaution, always use a hose connection vacuum breaker to prevent water flow reversal.
  • Always be mindful of children. Ensure your pool is properly fenced and has a pool alarm.

“Recent news reports have stated that the cost of chlorine is increasing and its availability is becoming more scarce,” added Commissioner Laykind. “Following each of these tips could also help out with conserving your chlorine supplies.”

Plainview Water District personnel will be conducting preventative maintenance operations on all hydrants district-wide from May 1st to approximately July 31st. This routine annual maintenance of our hydrants helps protect our community’s health and safety. This is not an extensive flushing operation. We will be pressure testing our hydrants and opening them briefly to ensure proper operation and readiness so that they will be fully functional by fire crews if needed.

When maintenance is being performed residents in the immediate vicinity of the work may experience temporary discoloration of their water. This discoloration primarily consists of harmless rust particles and does not affect the safety of the water. If you experience discoloration in your water after crews have been testing hydrants in your neighborhood, it is best to run your cold water tap at the lowest point of your home for 2 minutes or until it clears up.

Questions about hydrant testing can be directed to our customer service representatives by calling 516-931-6469 between the hours of 8am and 4pm Monday – Friday.