Water watcher - 7/25/14

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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 July: 0.02 inches

This July so far: 0.13 inches

Soil moisture content: Normal

Water usage

This week’s average water use by all city customers: 17.58 million gallons per day. Last week’s average water use: 17.53 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of July 17-23, precipitation was 0.05 inches and turf grass in the area used 2.18 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data. Home irrigators should have run spray-type sprinklers six times for 15 minutes and rotor-type sprinklers six times for 54 minutes this week. Calculations are based on average precipitation rates, please adjust for local conditions.

Yard care and water savings tips

• Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 15 minutes. Make sure to flush as soon as the test is done, since food coloring can stain the tank.

• Overusing chemical pesticides and fertilizers can damage beneficial soil life, leading to soil compaction and unhealthy plants. Chemicals can also wash off into ground water, rivers, lakes and marine waters, where they can harm people and wildlife.

Most trees and shrubs can get all the nutrients they need from the soil, and mulching once a year. But annual plants, vegetable gardens and lawns sometimes need extra nutrients. When shopping for fertilizers look for the words “natural organic” or “slow release” on the bag. Unlike “quick release” fertilizers, natural organic fertilizers won’t wash off into streams so easily, and they feed your plants slowly to keep them looking good longer.

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