CARY — You can help make a world of difference in your water by using some very simple tools and some good advice. It's available free through a new water conservation and landscaping program.
The advice is not only free of charge, environmental experts say it's also invaluable toward helping improve water quality. The "Cary Water-Wise Gardener Program" is just getting started. The key to its success depends on what we put on the ground.
The connection between the well-kept lawns of Cary and the Neuse River Basin can be found flowing down the roadside curbs and eventually down the drain. The runoff drainage system leads directly into the Neuse River. Experts say the landscaping mistakes made here are hurting the Neuse.
Mitch Woodward is one of many expert gardeners giving homeowners free landscaping advice that helps preserve the environment and conserve water. He shows homeowners how to use fertilizer and water wisely-- when to water and when not to-- and, when enough is enough.
With a tuna can as a rain gauge, the program teaches that all your lawn needs is a full can of water per week. It's a simple solution for a complex problem.
"The bottom-line is when you ask anyone off the street what's the problem with the Neuse River, they mention two things," said Mitch Woodward of the NC Cooperative Extension Service. "They mention sewage treatment plants and hog farms. We have a lot of areas like this-- nicely manicured lawns, with lots of grass. People don't really understand that they're connected to the river."
More than 140 gardeners have volunteered to offer free landscaping and water conservation ideas. The pilot water-wise program is in Cary because of water supply concerns in that community. Organizers hope to soon offer the program throughout the area.