Dried Up

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In many neighborhoods, the sound of sprinklers has become a kind of soundtrack for summer.

"We pretty much keep it running as much as we can," Sheila McCoy, who lives in Delta Township, laughs. "3, 4 hours a day."

It's a defense against the hot and dry July that was, and the hot and dry August that seems like its on the way.

"This is the first time we've ever sprinkled the lawn in 40 years," Mary Lou Van Zee of her home in Saratoga Farms in Delta Township. "Eventually, it always rains, but this years it's just not."

It means water usage in the area is nearing all-time highs. Lansing's Board of Water and Light reports an average 32 million gallons per day used this July. That's shy of the record, 33 million used in July 2002. The average water bill, a spokesman says, will reflect it.

"I'm sure it's gonna be 120, 130 [dollars]," McCoy says.

To stem the tide, horticulturist Dana Davis of Smith Tree and Landscaping says water efficiently. He says 15 to 20 per area everyday should be enough. Morning is the best time to do it.

He also suggests cooling down the grass during the day with brief watering, about 5-10 minutes per area. "It takes the turf out of stress," Davis says.

If your lawn is also brown and dormant, Davis says water about 1 inch of water weekly to keep the roots alive for next year.

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