We’ve had quite the summer so far here in Seattle. Beating the heat has become about as popular a game as Candy Crush! First, it was a drier than normal winter, with less snow in the mountains. Leading into a hotter than usual summer with records breaking and more slated to possibly fall in the next few weeks. Even as we’ve had our summer fun, its been a thought in the back of everyone’s minds, ‘what is going on and will we see the rains come back properly?’
Luckily last winter, the fine folks at Seattle Public Utilities learned from the past had an idea of what might come and planned ahead. Keeping our reservoirs fuller than they normally were so that as we got into the heat of the summer we were still ahead of any possible drought issues. Normally with our rainy winters, the reservoirs are left lower so that flood risks are not as possible – this year we haven’t had to worry about it. Check out this awesome blog from Cliff Mass for more info!
Now that we are at a point of being asked to conserve 10% of our own water usage, what can you do? From inside your home to outside in your own yard/garden there is plenty that you can do that will save plenty of water and you’ll be a water conservation superhero!
Let’s start off with some of the obvious ones:
- Shorter showers – not to mention that we don’t have to shower every day! There are always exceptions based on need, but overall our skin and natural oils have been doing their job for thousands of years now so let them do what they do!
- Turning the faucet off when you’re not actively using it. Brushing your teeth, washing your hands, doing dishes. We all have that moment where mid chore you’re just letting the water run and not even using it. Turn off that water until you do! Or get yourself automatic faucets, has anyone installed these in their home!?
- Do full loads of laundry and dishes. Wait until you have enough that needs to be cleaned to run your appliances. It might be easy to wash and dry smaller loads, but all of that extra water isn’t doing any more work than it would with a full load.
- Decrease garbage disposal use. They may seem like a godsend but they aren’t, they can prove to be more harm than help to your wallet and the environment. Besides you should be composting!
- Some other tips are here!
Don’t forget your lawn and garden! We have a our own lawn magic here in Seattle. Its true that no one likes a brown lawn, they don’t exactly make a home seem desirable on the market. However, our lawns are made to be able to go dormant in times of little to no watering and bounce back in the fall! One inch of water a week is all that is needed in the summer to keep things happy, however you can decrease it to once a month and dormancy kicks in. Not to mention doing waterings earlier in the morning or in the early evening to avoid evaporation – just make sure things dry out between waterings.
Lawns are great, they’re not the best for water conservation. Native and drought tolerant plants have gained popularity over lawns. They provide better environments for the wildlife of your hood and can handle less watering. Plus they can be way more attractive than a lawn can. You can build your own wild oasis around your property that helps take care of the local environment and can even attract beneficial critters for pest control. Depending on your plantings you can water as much as twice a week or less depending on what you’ve got growing.
Those that are handling our resources have already set us up for some success to handle summer, but we still need to be aware of how we can help keep those reserves around. Not only is being green helpful now, but always. Every little bit helps and we can make some seriously great strides in the right direction if we all keep in mind what we can do day to day that will benefit the environment.