Seep Off the Grass
In this episode of the Green Ninja Show, a man is unhappy with all of the water his lawn is wasting. During the day, when the sprinklers are turned on, water is wasted through evaporation and water runoff. The man teams up with his daughter to figure out how they can reduce their lawn’s water waste.
The first mistake the man makes is setting his sprinklers to turn on during the day. Some people believe that they need to water their lawn during the hot hours of the day because this is when the plants need water the most. This is a myth; plants store water internally until they need to use it, just like humans and other living organisms. Therefore, plants retain water whether you water them at 11 AM or 11 PM. By watering during the day, the man is wasting water through evaporation. Evaporation happens when matter gains enough energy (usually through heat) to change from a liquid to a gas; for example when water heats up, it turns into water vapor in the air. When the man’s lawn is watered during the day, some of the water never gets to the plants because the sunlight heats up the water, causing some of it to evaporate. The girl suggests they water at night because it is cooler and there is no direct sunlight to evaporate the water.
The second water problem comes up when they see extra water running down the street at night! This is water runoff. Water runoff happens because, like a sponge, soil can only absorb so much water until it becomes saturated (completely full) with water. When the soil becomes saturated with water, it cannot hold any more water so if any additional water is added to the soil, it will overflow off the lawn into the street. This happens with some lawns because of overwatering, but it can also happen because of an inefficient watering schedule. Plants do not need to be watered all at once. Some plants need less water than others. Most grass lawns don’t need that much water, as described in the watering guide from San Jose Water Company, and the this article by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program.
Green Ninja comes by to help out, she explains that watering for five minutes, then waiting for an hour to let the water sink into the soil and be absorbed by plants before watering for another five minutes is one of the most efficient watering strategies right now. This short-watering technique only requires sprinklers to set off for five minutes at a time, three times a night and it only needs to be done once or twice a week to keep a lawn healthy. This strategy requires significantly less water to properly water exterior decorative plants like grass, trees and flowers because it keeps the soil from getting saturated with water and overflowing. It is also important to know that watering can be skipped if there has been measurable rainfall within the past couple days.
After working together to solve their lawn problem, the man and the girl have become Green Ninjas, they tell their friends and family about their special watering technique to spread the Green Ninja way. They can help reduce water usage throughout their community. Through teamwork, their community can save gallons of water every day. Everyone can enjoy saving water because water costs money, using less water means a lower water bill and more water is available to the community for emergencies and during droughts. For more tips on how effectively and efficiently water vegetation around your home, click here to visit Water-Wise Gardening page by the San Jose Water Company.
Director: Dave Chai
Producer: Maaike Scherff
Editor: Keith Silva
Intro by: Mark Wanninger & Michael Salmassian
Cast: Ken Arnold, Megan Arnold, Yuki Okamura-Wong
Story: Melanie Joe
Film Crew: Mike Cascino, Jordel Hurlow, Rikuto Sekiguchi, Mark Sho
Animation: Ben Ravid
Cleanup and Color: Nic Dody, Roxas Nick, Maaike Scherff, and Nikiel Suchit
Episode Sponsor: San Jose Water Company