Walla Walla Water Watcher - 5/31/13

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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 May: .84 inches

This May so far: .95 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 May 30, 2013, are Spring Chinook 70, 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: 13.25 million gallons per day. Last week’s average water use: 15.29 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of May 24-May 30, precipitation was .48 inches and turf grass in the area used 1.009 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data. Home irrigators should run spray type systems 3 times for 7 minutes and rotor type systems 2 times at 40 minutes this week. Calculations are based on average precipitation rates, please adjust for local conditions.

Yard care and water savings tips

Practice smart watering for healthier plants and make every drop count. Some easy ways to lower water bills and get more water to plants include:

Build your soil with compost and mulch to hold water and prevent evaporation.

Choose low water use water plants. Once established they can often thrive just on rainfall.

Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation on beds — they save 50 percent or more water compared with sprinklers.

Use a timer that screws onto the faucet (available at garden stores) to water just the right amount.

Water lawns separately from other plantings. Ensure sprinklers are not watering the pavement, too.

When soil is dry or compacted it won’t absorb water quickly. If water puddles, stop watering a while and then restart, so the water has time to soak in.

Water in the early morning or evening — if you water at mid-day, half the water just evaporates.

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