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July is Smart Irrigation Month

I've always thought it was interesting that even though we technically live in the desert, most lawns in the Wenatchee area are kept green all summer. After living on the west side for a few years, I noticed that many people there let their lawns go dormant in the summer, only turning green again when the rain picks up again in the fall. But thanks to our healthy water supply on this side of the mountains, there apparently isn't as big of a need to conserve water here. A little ironic considering all the rain that the west side gets!

Still, there are good reasons to conserve water here, at least being careful to not over-water. That's especially true in drought years like this one. And while those who use irrigation water don't have to pay a lot, you can still save a little money by being thoughtful on how you water your lawn. That's even more important for those who don't have access to irrigation, and pay more to water with municipal water instead. Here's a few tips about how to use smart irrigation practices from the Wenatchee Valley Stormwater Technical Advisory Committee.

- Jana


Overwatering is OUT!

July is a peak month for outdoor water use. It is also a good time to make sure you’re using your irrigation system efficiently. Watering too much or too often can result in shallow roots, weed growth, disease, fungus, and unnecessary runoff. Irrigation runoff from lawns and gardens carries bacteria, sediment, chemicals and other pollutants into the stormwater system and eventually the Columbia. Runoff from overwatering can cause damage to adjacent property and can degrade roads and downstream infrastructure. Utilizing best management practices can promote a healthy lawn and garden and protect the waterways, including the Columbia River from contamination.

Best management practices don’t need to be costly to make a big difference! Simple practices can help protect water quality by reducing the pollutants washed into the stormwater system and improve water use efficiency by reducing the amount of water wasted due to evaporation or runoff from overwatering. Consider these best management practices to improve irrigation usage.

* Align sprinklers to keep water away from paved surfaces

* Fix leaking or broken sprinklers

* Know when your yard is adequately watered

* Group plants by watering needs

* Check the weather! If you see rain in the forecast, give your sprinkler system a break. Adjust automatic sprinkler systems to off before, during and after rain events to prevent over watering your lawn.

Overwatering is OUT! Keep irrigation where it counts!

For additional tips on how to improve your watering practices and creating a landscape ideal for Central Washington weather you can always ask the experts at local lawn and garden centers or, Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardner Program: (509) 667-6540, or Cascadia Conservation District:

Additional information about Smart Irrigation Month and the Valley’s Stormwater Management Program, visit:

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