Help people, salmon, and wildlife
Water is a precious resource, but in the often misty and river-rich Pacific Northwest, it can seem like we have an endless supply. It’s during these hot, dry days that we most appreciate the natural assets of our region and understand the need to use them wisely.
While we are doing better than many regions, we still need to use water with awareness and foresight. Climate change is warming our region, making temperatures, storms, and rainfall more variable. With our growing population, we need to build a sustainable home by conserving resources like water. Conserving water saves money as well as energy, since the water we use must be pumped, treated, and sometimes heated. Here are some simple ways to practice water conservation during the summer and year-round.
- Wash only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
- Place a large bucket in the sink when washing dishes or vegetables to collect excess water that can be used later to water plants.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Instead, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Soak pots and pans for easier cleaning later.
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in your refrigerator or on the counter, instead of running the tap.
- Fix leaks promptly! Little drips can waste lots of water.
- Install a bottle to displace water in your toilet tank if you have an older model. This will reduce the amount of water that your toilet is flushing away.
- Replace your showerhead with a low-flow model.
- Capture shower warm-up water. Use it to water plants or wash the floor.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving.
This time of year, more than 40 percent of home water consumption takes place outdoors! You can save a lot of water by not watering your lawn. Lawns without water typically go brown in June or early July, but they green up again in September or October. If you do water your lawn, reduce the number of watering days per week and seek non-toxic alternatives to weed killers and chemical fertilizers.
Lawnless in Seattle
Completely removing or reducing your lawn not only saves water, but can ultimately save time in terms of yard care. Xeriscaping a yard with plants that have low water requirements eliminates the need for frequent watering. Plants native to our region, such as service berry and kinnikinnick, are ideal for xeriscaping since they thrive in this climate.Do water your drought tolerant species during the first two summers after planting to help them get established. If possible, water plants in the morning to best reduce water loss from evaporation.
Savvy car washing
Take your car to a carwash to avoid excessive water use and soapy runoff into storm drains. Commercial carwashes typically reuse water several times before it’s sent to a treatment plant. They are fun to experience from inside a car! Or, visit a self-service car wash that’s hooked up to a sanitary sewer.
Talk about conserving water with your family and friends. Share your ideas and learn what others are doing. Enjoy the rest of the summer!