Walla Walla Water Watcher 5/24/13

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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 May: .84 inches

This May so far: .53 inches

Soil moisture content: Normal

Chinook salmon return numbers

Fish numbers in the Walla Walla River counted at Nursery Street Bridge in Milton Freewater as of Thursday are: spring chinook 56, steelhead 544. (Data collected by The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation Department of Natural Resources; funding provided by Bonneville Power Administration.)

Water usage

This week’s average water use by all city customers: 15.29 million gallons per day. Last week’s average water use: 16.70 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of May 16-May 23, precipitation was 1.27 inches and turf grass in the area used 1.49 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data. Home irrigators should run spray type systems 1 time for 9 minutes and rotor type systems 1 time at 33 minutes this week. Calculations are based on average precipitation rates, please adjust for local conditions.

Yard Care and water-savings tips

Practice smart watering for healthier plants

Watering too much or too little is the cause of many common plant problems in our area. You can have healthier plants, save money on water bills, and conserve precious water by learning to give your lawn and garden just what they need, and no more.

Water deeply, but infrequently. Most plants do best if the soil is allowed to partially dry out between waterings.

For lawns, a loss of shine or footprints showing indicate that it’s time to water.

Vegetables and other annuals should be watered at the first sign of wilting, but tougher perennials (plants that live several years) only need water if they stay droopy after it cools off in the evening.

Trees and shrubs (especially natives) usually need little watering once their roots are fully established (two to five years), except in very dry years.

Moisten the whole root zone. Watering deeply builds deeper, healthier root systems. To see if you are watering deep enough to moisten the whole root zone, dig in with a trowel an hour after watering to check the depth.

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