DESCHUTES VALLEY WATER DISTRICT

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Saving Money

Lawn Watering Tips

Looking for some ways to save water and money? Try these helpful watering tips: 

  • Delay regular lawn watering during the first cool weeks of spring. This encourages deeper rooting and makes your lawn healthier for the rest of the summer. It also delays the first time you have to mow.

  • Water any small grass areas by hand to avoid waste. On steep slopes, try a soaker hose to help prevent wasteful runoff.

  • Sprinklers that throw large drops in a flat pattern are much more effective than those with a fine, high spray. You will lose less water to evaporation with the larger drops.

  • Water in the morning before it gets too hot. Your lawn will absorb more moisture.

  • Make sure you water the grass only. Watering your sidewalk or driveway is money down the drain.

  • Dont water on windy days. Youll lose water to evaporation and your water may not go where you want it to go.

  • Step on the grass -- if it springs back you dont need to water; if it stays flat or leaves footprints -- its time to pull out the hoses.

  • Use short on/off sprinkler cycles (about 5-15 minutes on, 1 hour off, then repeat till well watered).

  • Keep grass 1-3 inches long; the longer grass will shade itself and require less water.

Lawn Watering Guide

Heres a simple way to determine your lawns watering needs:

  • Place five or more flat bottom cans or coffee mugs randomly around your lawn.

  • Turn on your sprinkler (s) for 15 minutes.

  • Measure the depth of the water in each can with a ruler to determine the average water depth in the cans.

Refer to the chart below and read the number of minutes you should water every third day. Record the times for future references.

Reminder: Use this chart as a guide only, and alter your water practices according to climatic conditions.

Average depth in test cans 1/8 1/4 3/8 1/2 5/8 3/4 1 1 1/4
Minutes to water every 3rd day in spring 30 15 10 7 1/2 6 5 4 3 1/3
Minutes to water every 3rd day in summer 60 30 20 15 12 10 8 6 2/3
Minutes to water every 3rd day in fall 24 12 8 6 4 3/4 4 3 1/3 2 1/2

Decrease watering times and frequencies during cool and/or humid weather. Skip at least one scheduled watering after any substantial rainfall. Not all soil is the same. If your grass grows on mostly clay soil, between 1/4- and 1/2-half inch of water per hour can be absorbed before it starts running off wastefully. If you have sandy soil, youll need to water more often and for shorter periods of time.

Xeriscaping: 7 Steps to a Water Wise Yard

Xeriscaping (pronounced zr uh scaping) is a method of landscaping based on common sense that can save 30-60% of your water use. By growing plants that thrive in our specific region and climate, your yard will be easy to maintain so you will save money, time and water. You can be creative as well as efficient with xeriscaping. Your yard can be as lush and colorful as a traditional yard by following these seven steps

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Plan ahead: Planning is the key to successful landscaping. Consider: function, appearance, maintenance and budget. Your local nursery, extension service, or landscaper can help.

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Limit Lawn Areas: Turf requires the most water and maintenance. Locate lawn space where it will be most functional. Decks or patios are a replacement option. Contemplate using grasses more suited to your area. It will use less water and be easier to maintain.

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Choose plants with a low water demand: Use water-thrifty groundcovers, grasses, trees, and shrubs that are well adapted to your region. They will require less care and will thrive in your soil and climate. Group like water users together. You will be able to give the proper care to each grouping.

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Prepare soil thoroughly: Turn and loosen soil at least 6 down and remove all rocks. Add organic material (such as peat or mint slugs) to flower and shrub beds. This will increase the soils ability to absorb and store water.

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Use mulch: Adding 2- 6 of mulch around plants helps conserve water and keeps weeds from growing.

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Use an efficient irrigation system: Consult your local nursery or hardware store about purchasing sprinklers or drip irrigation.

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Maintain your landscape properly: This includes watering, weeding, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control.

Getting Winterized

Winter and cold weather can create some plumbing nightmares if you are not prepared for it. Here are a few cold weather tips:

  • Around the end of October, protect your water meter by covering it with fiberglass insulation. Cut a hole in the fiberglass so the meter dial will slip through and will still be accessible by the meter reader. Check your meter cover to make sure it is not broken, missing or out of place. Any of these conditions will allow cold air and moisture into your meter and should be reported to the office at 475-3849.

  • Locate your shut off valve and check to see that it works, so that if you do have a problem this winter you can stop excessive water loss and flooding. There is also a shut off valve at your water meter if all else fails. Use a wrench and turn it to the right to turn it off.

  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs. Use fiberglass insulation, or molded insulating covers to wrap faucets. (Molded foam insulating covers are available at plumbing or hardware stores.) Dont forget to disconnect and drain your garden hoses.

  • Wrap all pipes in unheated areas such as crawl spaces, garages, attics and basements. Use insulating tape or molded pipe sleeves to wrap the entire length of exposed pipe. Cover all valves and pipe fittings with insulating tape or fiberglass. This will protect them from freezing.

  • Stop cold winds from blowing into your house. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house. Close off all foundation vents by sliding in wood or Styrofoam blocks cut to fit the openings. Open foundation vents are probably the greatest cause of frozen or split water lines.

If you leave your house vacant for extended periods in the winter take the following precautions:

  • Turn off the hand-operated shut off valve

  • Turn off water heater at the circuit breaker box

  • Open indoor and outdoor faucets to drain pipes

  • Flush toilets once to drain the tank but not the bowl

  • Leave your heat on at least 55 F to help keep pipes from freezing and to prevent mildew in the home.

If your pipes do freeze and you are not experienced with home repair work, it is recommended that you call a plumber. There is significant risk of injury or property damage if you are not sure of what you are doing when you are thawing pipes.

  • Turn on inside water faucets

  • Wrap the frozen pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Never use a flame torch to thaw frozen pipes because of extreme fire hazard and the potential of bursting a pipe from steam pressure. Do not use electrical devices (hair dryers, heaters, etc.) in areas where shock hazard exists.

Be prepared and enjoy the winter without the worries!

Front Loading Washers

Are you in the market for a new clothes washer? Before you buy, consider all of your options. While the initial cost may be greater, a front loading washer saves money in ways the traditional top loading washer does not.

First, it uses about a third of the amount of water the top loading washer does. That saves on your water bill and if you are washing with hot or warm water it will save on your water heating bill additionally.

Second, your detergent costs will go down as well. The front loading washers use only a fraction of the detergent the traditional washer uses.

Thirdly, your clothes are cleaner and there is less wear and tear on them. The top loading washer uses an agitation motion to clean your clothes which is hard on them.

Many people are placing their washers and dryers on a platform so there is no bending over to load and unload their machines. Less bending over means less wear and tear on you too.

Tax credits for purchases of energy efficient appliances may also be available. For more information go to:  https://energytrust.org/residential/incentives/Appliances/

 

 

 

 

This Page Last Modified on May 9, 2017