While it is true that water supplies in Kitsap County are adequate for the near future, several factors make it prudent to start an effective conservation program now:
- Eliminating water waste saves money
- Growth projections indicate that currently developed water supplies will not meet projected needs in the long term.
- Groundwater supplies, our best available resources, normally do not require expensive treatment so we need to stretch their use and efficiency as much as possible.
- Importing drinking water from other regional sources is very expensive, politically difficult to accomplish, and is often impossible due to water right restrictions.
- Desalination of seawater is expensive with the current technology.
- Extracting too much water from the ground, especially shallow wells, could have adverse ecological effects on instream flows and could impact salmon streams and federally protected species.
- It takes a long time for a population to learn and adapt to water conservation measures.
- By lowering the amount of water we waste (use unnecessarily), we can decrease the amount of associated resources we waste (i.e., resources required to collect, treat, deliver, and dispose of the "wasted" water).
- New water right applications require evidence of conservation measures by the utility and may be integral to obtaining a favorable decision on those applications. Without efficient use of current water resources, the DOE has no incentive to increase allowable production.
1 inch per week, including rain is all your lawn needs.
Do the Tuna Can Test to learn how.
- Place several tuna cans or similar containers around the zone you want to test.
- Run that zone for 15 minutes.
- Measure the water in the cans with a ruler and determine the average depth.
- Calculate the amount delivered per hour.
Washington State Law mandates that low-flow toilets be installed in new construction or when replacing a toilet. These generally use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Older standard toilets use about 3 to 5 gallons of water per flush.
Flushing toilets use the most water use in the home, followed by washing clothes and then showers.
Fall is a great time for new lawns and plantings. This will give plants time to take advantage of rainfall to provide the extra water they will need until established.
Washington State law now requires you to use water efficient toilets when you replace or install a toilet. These toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush compared to over 3 gallons per flush for older models. You can reduce the water you use to flush the toilet by almost 50%. Look for the WaterSense® label.
Although high efficiency clothes washers are typically more expensive than traditional machines, they save you money over time by lowering your water and energy bills. They wring out your clothes better, so your drying time is reduced. They are also gentler on fabrics - so clothes, towels and linens don't wear out as fast. Efficient models can save up to 50% of water used for laundry.
If you have an older, high flow-showerhead, replacing it means that your new water conserving showerheads will only use 2.5 gallons per minute and provide a comfortable shower.
Mulching gardens 2 to 3 inches deep means less watering during even the hottest months. Organic mulches break down slowly amending the soil while slowing down weed growth and evaporation. Leave your grass clippings on your lawn to fertilize your lawn and decrease irrigation needs.
Mulches can be inorganic, such as black plastic or rocks. Organic mulch is recommended however, as the mulch will break down and add nourishment to your soil. Some inorganic materials will actually absorb more sunlight and cause additional evaporation of water from the soil.
See WSU's Gardening in Western Washington for gardening hints. Right Plant, Right Place by Nicola Ferguson and Sunset's The Western Garden Book are also excellent references.
A sprinkler system does the best job at watering lawns. Add a rain sensor to shut off the system when it rains. Remember, 1 inch per week is enough for most lawns. Water shrubs, and garden beds separately. Soaker hoses and drip systems are the most efficient method. Dig a few inches around plants and only water when the top 2 or 3 inches are dry. Make sure that water reaches the root zone.