Summer 2016

When rainy winters give way to hot dry summers, it can be a struggle to keep up with the demands of a thirsty yard. Less rain and higher temperatures can put a lot of stress on plants - and your wallet! Add to that a leaking faucet or toilet inside the house and the water bills really start adding up.

Conserving water doesn’t require expensive new appliances or landscaping. Taking even small, simple steps to change the way you use water can lead to big savings on your water bill over time. And water customers can get some of the water-saving devices mentioned below from Public Works while supplies last.

IN THE YARD

hoseAvoid watering during the heat of the day
Instead of turning the sprinklers on during the heat of the day when water will evaporate, try watering during the early morning, late afternoon, or at night.

Don’t over water
Moisture meters, adjustable spray nozzles, and sprinkler timers are inexpensive tools that can help you use only the amount of water that your lawn and plants need. For maximum control over watering, install a drip irrigation system on a timer – it’s easier and cheaper than you think!

Water yards deeply and less frequently
You’ll have a healthier lawn and save time and money if you water less frequently. Lawns need only about an inch of water per week for optimal health; empty tuna/cat food cans can be spread around the yard to figure out how long to run your sprinklers to water 1”. This watering calendar can help!

dirtIncrease your soil’s ability to hold water
Adding organic matter to your soil will increase its ability to absorb and hold water longer. Try tilling compost into your soil, or spreading it around the base of existing plantings. A layer of mulch – dried leaves, straw, or wood chips – can also help keep soil moisture in the ground when temperatures rise.

Choose the right plant for the right place
Plants that are well adapted to the unique conditions that exist in your yard will require less irrigation and other maintenance. In particular, perennial and/or native plants may need little to no irrigation once they’ve become established. Drought tolerant plants can be selected that can thrive with little irrigation even in troublesome areas like exposed slopes.

Use topography to your advantage
You can save water by planting drought tolerant plants at the top of hills and mounds, and plants requiring moist conditions at the bottom of the hills where water will collect.

Fix leaking faucets and hoses
You’d be surprised at how much water can be lost from even a small leak. For a cheap fix, try using Teflon tape.

Collect and store rain water
You can substantially lower your summer water bills and prevent stormwater pollution if you collect rainwater in the winter for use in summer. Rain barrels and cisterns are both good options.

IN THE HOUSE

Reduce flow volume
Using low flow showerheads and sink aerators are low-cost options that can substantially reduce the amount of water you use during daily activities. Low flow toilets are a great option if you’re ready to make an investment; you can also decrease the amount of water used per flush by installing a water displacement device such as a Toilet Tummy or Flush Less bag in the holding tank.

Turn off faucets when not in use
You can save gallons of water from being wasted by turning off faucets when brushing teeth or doing dishes.

faucetFix leaks
Leaking faucets can usually be fixed easily using Teflon tape or replacing washers. For toilet leaks, you can pick up an inexpensive repair kit at most hardware stores. Most of them come with instructions, or you can view a tutorial video online.

FREE WATER CONSERVATION KITS – while supplies last!
The City of Edmonds Public Works is providing a limited number of free water-saver kits to its water customers. There are two types of water-saver kits available on a first-come-first-serve basis, while supplies last. http://edmondswa.gov/archived-issues/summer-2013/1748-free-outdoor-water-saver-kits-available.html

For more smart watering tips, check out http://www.savingwater.org/