Marlene Feist

Hey! Let’s Slow the Flow!

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 12:11 p.m.

Hey! Let’s Slow the Flow!

For years, the City of Spokane has been asking its residents and businesses to “Slow the Flow” of water.

In the City of Spokane and in much of our region, we are fortunate to live above the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, which supplies us with lots of cool, clean drinking water. But that resource isn't unlimited. The Spokane River and the Aquifer exchange water at various points; low river levels indicate that levels in the aquifer are lower as well. A couple years of drought conditions like this definitely would impact the availability of water from the aquifer.

Our citizens have taken heed of water conservation requests. Our water use has consistently gone down over the last 20 years even as population has grown. Much of the gains have come from building standards that have called for more efficient fixtures and appliances that use far less water.

But this summer's hot weather, little rain and snow, and extremely low river levels have emphasized the need to do more.

Fortunately, it's actually pretty easy to make a difference. Mayor David Condon and the City Council in late June asked citizens and businesses to take these simple, but effective, voluntary steps:

  • 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.
  • Switch to watering your lawn every other day, rather than every day. Infrequent and deep watering is better. This schedule will encourage the roots of a lawn to grow more deeply, allowing them to draw water from the soil more effectively.
  • Don't let your hose run. While washing a car, use a nozzle or shut off the faucet until the water is needed. Running a 5/8-inch hose for 30 minutes wastes up to 150 gallons of water.
  • Don't water on windy days, and turn your sprinklers off when it rains.
Quench Your Lawn Thrist

You don't have to stop there. 

Use native plants in your landscaping and leave lawn clippings on the lawn to act as a natural mulch and water saver. Set your lawnmover so you have taller grass—about 3 inches high. Add a smart controller to your irrigation system that measures the water content in the soil and helps you avoid overwatering. Or, buy a simple hose timer if you don't have an automatic sprinkler. One inch a week of water is a water “rule of thumb” suggested for most lawns.

At the City, we're taking a closer look at our water use, too. We know we have very inefficient irrigation systems in many of our parks, and we are working on plans to address that. We're also aggressively tackling leakage in our water distribution system.

Protecting our water supplies is important, and we can all do our part. For more information, go to

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