A lot of the water we use is in the yard or garden. A few changes in your habits could go a long way toward reducing your use and your water bill. Here are some ideas to try:
- Use a broom rather than a hose or pressure washer to clean walks, patios and driveways.
- Harvest rainwater for your outdoor watering needs by installing a few rain barrels or other rainwater catchment system.
- Use commercial car washes where water is reused.
- Water in early morning or evening and avoid watering when it is windy to decrease water loss from evaporation.
- Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system for garden beds because they reduce and regulate the amount of water used.
- Water less frequently and for a longer duration. Light watering encourages shallow root growth, making plants less drought tolerant.
- Apply no more than 1/2 inch of water per hour on your lawn. Lawns west of the Cascades only need about one inch of water per week during hot, dry weather depending on type of soil and its absorption rate.
- Weekly watering should be sufficient for most plants in the ground during the summer.
- Arrange sprinklers carefully so that they don’t water the street, driveway, or sidewalks and monitor your watering to prevent runoff.
- Use hoses with a shutoff nozzle and turn off the water when you don’t need it.
Reducing Water Loss
- Place 2–4” inches of mulch around plants and trees to reduce evaporation and minimize watering requirements. However keep mulch from directly contacting stems and trunks to avoid damaging the plants.
- Retain native plants and soil because the undisturbed soils retain water better and established native plants won’t need to be watered as much as new plants.
- Use native plants because they typically require less care and water after they are established.
TIP: Water conservation is a great way to save money and water. Through your water provider you might be eligible for rebates or discounts on water saving toilets, free leak detection kits, free showerheads, and other incentives.