Walla Walla Water Watcher - 6/21/13

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Facts and tips on water usage and conservation are presented weekly by the City of Walla Walla, in partnership with Walla Walla Community College and the Union-Bulletin.

Precipitation and moisture

Last June: 3.40 inches

This June so far: .71 inches

Soil moisture content: Normal

Chinook salmon return numbers

Fish numbers in the Walla Walla River counted at Nursery Street Bridge in Milton Freewater, as of June 20, 2013, are Spring Chinook 74, Steelhead 547.

Data collected by The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation Department of Natural Resources; funding provided by Bonneville Power Administration.

Water usage

This week’s average water use by all city customers: 17.25 million gallons per day.

Last week’s average water use: 18.34 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of June 14-20, precipitation was 0.75 inches and turf grass in the area used 1.436 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data.

Home irrigators should have run spray type sprinklers 3 times for 9 minutes and rotor type sprinklers 2 times for 52 minutes this week.

Calculations are based on average precipitation rates, please adjust for local conditions.

Tips on yard care, water savings

Think twice before using pesticides.

Scientists have found 23 pesticides (weed and bug killers) in our local streams, many at levels that may damage salmon and other wildlife. Overuse of these products can also damage soil and plant health. Studies have found increased health risks among families that use lawn and garden pesticides, especially among pets and children. The good news is that we really don’t need most of those chemicals.

Most bugs are good bugs. Only about 5% of the bugs in your yard are pests. “Good bugs” like the ground beetle and the green lacewing help control pests.

Start with prevention.

SBltBuild healthy soil with compost and mulch – soil organisms protect plants from many disease and insect pest problems.

SBltSelect pest-resistance plants, and put them in the sun/shade and soil conditions they like.

SBltClean up diseased plants, and compost dead plants in fall to reduce hiding places for insect pests.

SBltPull weeds before they go to seed and spread.

SBltUse a variety of plants, so if pests attack one plant, others can fill its place.

Identify the problem before you spray, squash, or stomp.

The problem could really be incorrect mowing or pruning, improper watering, or other easily corrected practices.

Whether it’s a bug, disease, or weed, you need to identify it to know how to effectively manage it.

Accept a little damage — give nature time to work.

Natural predators often bring pests under control, but they need time to work. Don’t spray at the first sign of damage – nature may control it for you, or plants often just outgrow the damage.

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