With a complete outdoor watering ban now in effect in Clarke, Barrow, Jackson and Oconee counties, the answer to some water woes may be hiding in the ever-running air conditioner.
“You’d be surprised how much water you can collect from condensation from your air conditioner,” said Steve Brady, a UGA Cooperative Extension agent in Cobb County. “Collecting and using water that’s normally wasted around your home can help you nurse your landscape through this drought.”
The bigger your house and the cooler you like it, the more water you’ll get, according to Frank Henning, a UGA Extension watershed agent.
Besides air conditioners, other common sources of wasted water you can recycle into the landscape include bath water, excess water in the shower or rain, if we ever get any.
“Putting rain barrels at roof edges, gutters and downspouts to collect rain runoff is a great way to save water for landscape use,” Brady said.
If it’s not raining outside, think about water you waste inside.
“In Georgia, you aren’t supposed to use gray water in the landscape, so bath water isn’t a good idea,” Henning said. “However, you can collect and use all the water that goes down the drain while you wait for the shower to get hot.”
One option for fall gardens is installing drought-tolerant plants that require less water. “Some succulent plants can take some really dry conditions,” Henning said.
“Fall is always the best time to plant, so we hate to discourage planting. But do make wise choices such as lantana, prickly pear cactus and sedum which do fine without water.”