Everyday Conservation: Tips for Using Water Wisely Outdoors

Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2020

In Skagit County, we live in a beautiful, thriving area and water is one of our most important resources. We must manage this limited resource carefully to ensure there is adequate water for human needs and the environment.

It’s easy to take water for granted with our plentiful rainfall, but it’s important that we each do our part to use water wisely. Doing so not only benefits the community, but also the plants, animals and fish that depend on water for survival.

Most water conservation is simple and inexpensive—just a little common sense goes a long way. Please choose the conservation tips that work best for you and start saving water today!

Outdoor Conservation Tips

Outdoors is a great place to focus on water conservation. Landscape watering, whether it’s a traditional lawn, shrubs, or a garden, consumes the largest percentage of outdoor water. Thankfully, there is a lot you can do to cut down on landscaping watering. The following tips can help you reduce your water use and ensure a healthy, beautiful landscape.

Water Effectively

  • Water only when needed. One inch of water a week, including rainfall, is all your lawn needs.
  • Match sprinklers to the area being watered to avoid watering streets and driveways.
  • Water in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
  • Install drip irrigation or soaker hoses in your garden areas. These provide a slow, steady supply of water to the root zone.
  • Use watering timers that automatically shut-off sprinklers.
  • Collect rainwater in a barrel and use it to water non-edible plants. Skagit PUD makes and sells rain barrels for $60.

Improve Soil

  • Improve your soil by adding compost. Compost increases the ability of soil to hold water.
  • Apply surface mulch (organic matter) around plants. This reduces evaporation.
  • Aerate your lawn annually if you have compacted soil. This allows water to get to the roots.

Plant Smart

  • Use native, water-wise plants. These plants require less water and less care.
  • Match plants to your yard conditions. Many plants die because they are planted in the wrong location.
  • Group plants according to water needs. This makes watering much more efficient.
  • Plant in the spring or fall when watering requirements are lower.
  • Minimize the amount of lawn. Lawns require at least twice as much water as most plants.