Hood River Watershed Group and local irrigation districts provide these tips for home water conservation:
- Use micro sprinklers as they are more efficient for irrigating. They use about a third of the water compared to a large rotating sprinkler. Water seems to penetrate better into the soil. Larger volumes of water seem to create leaching and more run off.
- The worst type of sprinkler to use is a butterfly-model because they can put out about eight gallons of water a minute compared to the half-gallon of a micro sprinkler.
- Watering yards, gardens, etc. should be done early in the morning or evenings when the air is much cooler for less evaporation.
- Don’t water when it’s windy, which can be hard to do here. Use sprinklers that apply water low — the more you shoot in the air, the more you’ll lose to wind and evaporation loss.
- Water infrequently but deeply, which can promote growth of deep root systems so they can withstand a longer dry time. If you water really frequently and water is always at the surface, then your grass, in particular, but other plants too, won’t be encouraged to grow deep root systems, and that doesn’t do you or your plant any good.
- Do not leave a sprinkler in the same area for extended hours or days, as this wastes water and leaves other areas of the yard without irrigation.
- Look at the other ways water is used and make changes there. Whenever possible, use native and drought tolerant plants in landscaping. They need less of everything. Think about sweeping your driveway instead of hosing it off. Manage weeds — mulch is great because it holds water there longer, keeps plants moist longer and it can help suppress weeds, which use large amounts of water.