Water Conservation Tips

The Department of Public Works encourages all residents to conserve our precious water supply.

Low Flow Household Retrofit Kits

In an attempt to promote water conservation, a limited number of low flow household retrofit kits are being made available at no charge to Marlborough residents, while supplies last. Because of the limited numbers, we must restrict distribution to one kit per household. Kits are available at the Department of Public Works from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Billing/Payroll Office.

Kits are also available free of charge from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority by calling (617) 242 -SAVE, or by mailing a completed Water Conservation Fixture & Literature Request Form.

The retrofit kits consist of:

  • One showerheads that saves between 2 and 4 gallons per minute.
  • 2 faucet aerators save 1.5 gallons per minute (one kitchen and one bathroom).
  • A leak detection survey to check for faucet, shower and toilet leaks.
  • If you have questions on this program, please call the Department of Public Works at (508) 624-6910 ext. 7100.

Outdoor Watering Tips

Water your lawn only as needed. Frequent light watering can actually weaken your lawn by encouraging shallow root growth that is less tolerant of dry periods and more susceptible to insect damage. Roots can hold plenty of moisture even after several days without rain. Before watering, look for signs that it's needed: patchy areas, a general change in color or footprints that remain in the grass long after being made.

Test your soil for dryness. Water only when the soil is dry to a depth of 1.5 inches. Make sure the water soaks down 3-4 inches. This encourages deep root growth.

Timing is critical.  The best time to water your lawn ius early morning (4:00 to 6:00 am). Watering mid-day wil result in a high rate of evaporation and sunburnt grass, and will leave grass vulnerable to disease from mildew and fungus.

Give it a rest. If your lawn "fades" don't panic. Grass naturally becomes dormant during dry, hot periods. It will revive quickly after a steady rainfall or in cooler weather.

  • One inch of water per week (rain plus watering) should be plenty. Never water when it's windy, rainy or very hot. After heavy rains you may not need to water for 10-14 days.
  • Raise the mower blade level to 2-3 inches or more. Longer grass retains more moisture because it shades the roots. It also encourages deeper rooting, requires less fertilizer and competes better against weeds.
  • Never water faster than the soil can absorb it. Avoid puddling and runoff.
  • Be sure your nozzle has a shut-off nozzle. A hose without a nozzle can spout 10 gallons or more per minute.
  • Don't fertilize in the summer. New growth requires more water. Apply in early spring and/or fall.
  • Aerate your soil in the spring and fall to aid water absorption and retention.

Automatic sprinkler timers. Studies have shown that automatic sprinkler systems often use 20-30% more water than hand-held hose watering. Make sure the timer or "controller" is set to water each landscape zone efficiently. Install a rain or soil moisture sensor that turns the system off when it rains or if moisture is present in the soil.


Contact the Marlborough Department of Public Works at (508) 624-6910 ext. 7100 if you have questions on water conservation or the proper use of water.