Watering schedule and outreach to residential community
By Emily Resch,
Birch Bay Water & Sewer District
Beginning June 15, the Whatcom Water Alliance will be implementing a voluntary watering schedule that will continue through September 15.
During that time residents with odd numbered street addresses are being asked to limit watering to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Residents with even numbered street addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Mondays are non-watering days to allow reservoirs to recharge after the weekend.
The Whatcom Water Alliance formed in 2008 and is a group of local government water utilities that share the common goal of working together to improve the management of our water resources.
The water utilities that are currently members of the Alliance are: Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Sumas, Birch Bay Water and Sewer, Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer, Point Roberts Water District, Water District #2 and Water District #7.
The goal of the watering schedule is to help reduce stress on water supplies during the warm summer months, when outdoor usage soars.
Outdoor water use can account for 30 percent or more of residential water consumption, with most of that going for watering lawns and gardens.
Turf grass needs only one inch of water per week to stay healthy and green, so a lot of lawns are getting more water than they actually need.
If water users only water three days a week and limit the weekly total to one inch – including rainfall - they will still have healthy lawns, but use less water.
In anticipation of the summer watering schedule, the Alliance is encouraging customers to begin preparing their yards and sprinkler systems for hot, summer weather. Customers should check irrigation systems for broken sprinkler heads, test for uneven coverage to determine problem areas and program their controller to the watering schedule or less frequently based on landscaping needs.
To ensure plant health, replenishing mulch around plant roots will improve soil, reduce moisture loss and keep roots cool in the summer. Replace any plants that have died or are not performing well with native or well-adapted plants to ensure survival.
In support of the voluntary watering schedule, the Water Alliance is communicating with residential irrigation contractors in Whatcom County. While many homeowners manage their own automatic irrigation systems, the Alliance anticipates that some homeowners may seek professional assistance.
Water utilities in the Alliance will maintain a list of irrigation companies who have expressed interest in water efficient practices, which will be available to the public. Any contractors interested in being on the list are encouraged to contact water conservation specialist Emily Resch at 371-7100.