(WAND)- While temperatures continue to heat up this summer, the Illinois American Water offers tips to help prevent water overuse and ways to lower your water bill.

"Gardens, pools, car-washing, and outdoor cleaning are all activities that go hand-in-hand with summer and also increase water use and water waste," said Beth Matthews, vice president of operations for Illinois American Water. "Unfortunately, consumers may not think about water use or water waste in the summer until they receive a high bill. We want to help prevent this from occurring while also protecting our precious water resources."

Customers are encouraged to use water wisely by implementing some wise water tips for outdoor water use:

  • Reuse it. Use water from rain barrels and kiddie pools for watering lawn and gardens.
  • Embrace the bucket! Instead of using a running hose, use water contained in a bucket for washing cars and pets and rinsing sandy/grassy feet.
  • Timing is everything. Only water during the coolest parts of the day (early morning or evening) to minimize evaporation. Watering during the middle of the day has the potential to lose up to 30% due to evaporation.
  • Odd/Even Watering of your lawn. Watering your lawn uses a lot of water, so only water your lawn when it needs it. Generally, lawns only need an inch or so of water per week.
  • Use drip irrigation hoses to water your plants.
  • Consider using a broom instead of a hose. Using a broom eliminated the need for unused water to clear the sidewalk or patio.
  • Rain delay. Watch weather forecast to avoid "Mother Nature" re-watering your garden, which could also damage plants.
  • Pick your plants wisely. Purchase varieties that require less water and remain hearty in drier weather. And don't forget to mulch (only 2-3") to help with water retention.
  • Be a leak detective. Find and fix leaks and breaks in hoses, sprinkler systems, and pipes. For help, download Illinois American Water's Leak Detection Kit at illinoisamwater.com under Water Information.
  • Raise the blade. Raise the level of your lawnmower blade to avoid lawn burnout and the need for watering.
  • Keep an eye out. Watch your sprinkler's "sweep" to make sure all the water is reaching vegetation that needs it and not the pavement! Check this frequently in case a person or animal has accidentally redirected your sprinkler.

"We're encouraging everyone to monitor their water usage. By following these wise water tips, we hope customers can see how easy it can be to conserve water in everyday settings," said Matthews. "Customers can track their water usage online through MyWater and find ways to use water more wisely."

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