The Regional Water Providers Consortium Hoping To Help People Save Water This Summer

PORTLAND, Ore. —  It’s July and that precious, limited resource we all need called water is something the Regional Water Provider’s Consortium is hoping we are all thinking about this summer.  They have created a number of different ways for people to keep track of how much water they are using to give them a better idea of how much might be wasted and perhaps used more efficiently.

Below is a message from the Consortium:

Do your part to use water wisely this summer with these 10 tips.

Water is our region’s number one natural resource, and we all have a role to play in caring for our
local drinking water sources. One of the most important things we all can do is be water efficient in
our daily activities, especially in the summertime when there often is little rainfall to refill local water sources. The good news is that there are many ways we can use water wisely at home and you don’t have to be a plumber or a garden guru to do this.

1. Sign up for the Weekly Watering Number. We’ll take the guesswork out of deciding how much water your landscape needs each week by sending your free Weekly Watering Number by text or email each Thursday. Sign up during the month of July and we will send you either a FREE hose nozzle or a set of watering gauges (offer valid for customers of Consortium members while supplies last. One kit per customer).

More info about the Weekly Watering Number:
The Weekly Watering Number is the amount of water in inches that your lawn and other plants need each week. It can be used with different types of watering systems and plant types. Whether you use a sprinkler attached to the end of a hose or an automatic sprinkler system to water, you will have to do a little homework before you use the Weekly Watering Number the first time. It’s easy to do and takes just 15 minutes. The result is that you will know how long it takes your watering system to water an inch. Once you have this information, you can use it to adjust the amount of water you give your landscape or garden throughout the watering season.

2. Make sure your watering system is in tip-top shape. Now that summer is finally here, it is a good time to make sure that your watering system is ready for its summertime workout. Automatic sprinklers typically run in the early morning when we are asleep which means that if something isn’t working correctly you may not catch it. Take 10 minutes this weekend to put your sprinkler through its paces. You can do this by running each zone and walking through your yard to make sure that it is working correctly. Look for heads that need to be turned so that they are watering your plants and not the pavement. You may want to have a screwdriver handy in case you need to adjust the length of spray on your sprinkler heads. Now is also a great time to check hose connections. Even a small drip at the outdoor spigot or hose connection can waste hundreds to thousands of gallons of water a month.

3. Know how to hand water your garden or hand wash your car efficiently. Water flows from a garden hose at an average of 5-7 gallons a minute, so if you hand water your garden or hand wash your car, one of the most important things you can do to save water is to attach a water-efficient nozzle to your hose. This will ensure that water flows only when and where you need it when
doing these activities. The most water-efficient way to wash your car is to take it to a commercial carwash that recycles water. This type of car wash saves water and ensures that soap and other contaminants from your car stay out of our waterways. You can find a list of water-friendly car washes at

4. Give your lawn and garden a deep soak twice weekly instead of watering daily. Established plants typically need to be watered deeply once or twice a week. For example, Wednesday and Saturday. Newly planted plants may need to be watered more often until they are established. Watering less often will help your plants develop stronger root systems which will be better able to access water effectively from your soil, especially when it is hot and dry.

5. Skip the fertilizer until the fall and mow your lawn less often. Regularly watering and fertilizing your lawn makes it grow which also means that you will have to mow it more. Waiting to fertilize your lawn until a dry fall day will help ensure that your lawn and local waterways are healthy. Adjust your mower to a higher setting. Leaving your grass a little taller will shade your lawn’s roots and help your soil hold onto moisture longer between watering’s.

6. Prevent runoff by applying only the amount of water your soil can absorb. Much of the soil in our area is clay which means it holds onto moisture well but takes longer to absorb. You may need to break your watering session up to give your soil time to soak up the water you are applying (e.g., water for ten minutes, soak in for half-hour, water again for 10 minutes).

7. Use technology and conservation devices to be “water smart.” Upgrade your irrigation system with a WaterSense labeled smart controller or a rain sensor that automatically adjusts the amount you water based on local weather. Many water providers offer rebates for these items to their customers. Add a water-efficient nozzle with a shut-off feature to your hose to save water each time you wash your car or water your plants. Water flows from a garden hose at an average of 5-7 gallons a minute. Attaching a water-efficient nozzle to your hose will allow you to control the water flow so that it is only on when you need it.

8. Check Your toilet for leaks a couple of times a year. About a quarter of all of the water used in the average home is used for flushing toilets. This makes toilets the best place to start when looking at how you can use water more wisely at home. Toilet leaks are fairly common and they can be the source for hundreds to thousands of gallons of water going to waste each month. Fortunately, toilet leaks are also often easy and inexpensive to detect and fix.

9. Switch it up and save: Replace your current showerhead or bathroom faucet aerator to WaterSense labeled models and you will automatically use 20% less water with those fixtures. An aerator reduces the flow from the faucet and uses air to keep good water pressure. Many water providers give these away to their customers for free or you can order one online from most home improvement stores.

10. Wash only full loads. Dishwashers and clothes washers use about the same amount of energy and water regardless of the number of dishes or clothes inside, so run full loads whenever possible. Dishwashers actually use less water than washing dishes by hand, so if you have a dishwasher let it do the work for you! You can also save water when washing dishes by hand by turning the water on only to rinse or filling a large container with rinse water. You will save about 2.5 gallons of water for every minute your faucet does not run.

Water supply, water sources, and water treatment methods are different throughout the region and the state. Your local water provider and other state and federal agencies track water supplies closely throughout the year, especially during the summer months. This spring was wet and cool in the greater Portland metro area, but it is still a good idea to use water wisely.

Do your part to use water wisely.
It’s just the right thing to do.

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