City Water Department Offers Tips to Keep a Green Lawn Using Less Green During Hot Weather

Most lawns need about one inch of water a week

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:20 p.m.

It’s officially hot outside. The City of Spokane Water Department is offering tips to citizens on how to keep a green lawn while holding down the cost of their water bills.

“Citizens can maintain their lawns and landscaping without extensive watering, even with temperatures in the 90s,” says Dan Kegley, the City’s Water Department Director. “We want to help our customers make decisions that keep their bills more affordable.”

Here are some watering tips when the weather is hot:

  • Don’t sprinkle between noon and 6 p.m. Some experts estimate that 50 percent of the water evaporates when sprinkling in the heat of the day. Morning watering is considered best as the water doesn’t sit on the roots overnight, which can cause problems with root rot or fungal disease.
  • Don’t water on windy days. Again, much of the water will be lost to evaporation or blown away from your lawn.
  • Consider “grasscycling,” leaving your lawn clippings on your lawn to act as a natural mulch. The clippings will retain moisture and return nutrients to the soil, improving soil texture and water retention.

How much water do you need?

One inch a week is a watering “rule of thumb” suggested for most lawns. Experts suggest infrequent and deep watering over frequent and shallow watering to encourage roots of your lawn to grow more deeply. The deeper the roots the better your lawn can draw water from the soil.

Homeowners can consider adding a smart controller to their irrigation systems that measures moisture content in the soil so they don’t overwater. A hose timer can help do the same thing for those who don’t have automatic sprinkler systems.

The City is asking its citizens to “Slow the Flow” and be good stewards of our water. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that nationally, lawn care and landscaping accounts for more than 30 percent of water use in the United States.

Protecting and preserving our water resources is a long-term goal of the City. The City’s Water Department must meet water conservation goals as part of state and federal requirements. The City Council adopted new conservation goals in April that strive to reduce indoor residential use by 0.5 percent annually and outdoor use by 2 percent annually.

The City bills customers monthly for water use. For greater consistency of billing amounts, customers can request a “budget billing” option that spreads amounts evenly across all months of the year. Customers can call 625.6000 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to set up budget billing.

For more water tips and information, go to