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Water Efficiency: The Key to a Sustainable Future

Man washing car Protecting and preserving our water resources is a long-term goal of the community of Spokane and is part of their sustainability efforts. Using less water translates into saving money. In Spokane, water use more than triples in the summer time and now is the perfect time to make sure that you're watering efficiently! The City of Spokane Water Department has resources available to help customers reduce their water use and utility bills. Some of the free resources for customers include:

  • Outdoor Conservation Kits-includes repair parts and hose nozzle
  • Indoor Conservation Kits- includes a low-flow shower head, aerators, and a toilet water saving device
  • Indoor Water Use Credit
  • Educational Events and Presentations
Quench your yard thirst

15 Easy Ways to Save Water

Watering wisely outside the home promotes healthier lawns and landscapes. Here are a few simple ways to save water.

1. Install a rain sensor
A rain sensor will allow your irrigation system to automatically shut-off if rainfall exceeds a certain amount. Afterward, the system will automatically resume its normal schedule.

2. Add a nozzle for your hoseSprinkler Attached to Hose
Place a shutoff nozzle on your hose to control the flow of water so you only use what you need. Remember to turn the water off at the faucet to prevent leaks. Save 5-7 gallon per minute your hose is on.

3. Save time and save water
Use an automatic time on your sprinkler or set a kitchen timer to remind you to turn off the water. Left unattended, a garden hose can waste as much as 600 gallons of water in just one hour.

4. Use a broom and not the hose
Use a broom instead of the hose to clean patios, sidewalks, and driveways and save water every time.

Water Your Lawn at Night5. Water your lawn early
Watering your lawn in the early morning or early evening minimizes evaporation and waste.

6. Sprinkle your yard with care
Install water efficient sprinklers and a rain sensor switch to override your system when it rains. Check timing device settings regularly. Install soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems for planting beds with shrubs and flowers.

7. Xeriscape
This landscaping and gardening method uses native and drought resistant plants while reducing or eliminating the need for supplemental water from irrigation. On top of reducing outdoor water use by 60% or more, a Xeriscaped lawn can increase the property value of a home.

8. Meet your water meter
Find out if you have a leak in your home by reading your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the readings are different, you have a leak.

9. Make tuna cans do double duty
Lawns only need about one inch of water per week (a bit more during dry, hot weather). Try the Tuna Can Test . To determine how long it takes your irrigation system to put out an inch of water, place cans around the yard and measure the water collected in 15 minutes for rotary sprinklers and 7 minutes for stationary sprinklers.

10. Organize your surroundings
Group plants together based on similar watering needs. This will allow you to give each plant the appropriate amount of water it requires. Mulch will retain moisture and reduce weeds.

Car wash11. Visit the car wash
Reduce 17 gallons per minute of urban chemical runoff by skipping the at-home wash and going commercial instead. Commercial car washes are required to use on-site water recycling, filtration, and conservation techniques.

12. Harvest rainwater
Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes. You can easily capture the rain that falls on your roof. It adds up fast.
1 inch of rain yields 62 gallons per every 100 square feet of roof space.

13. Skip a day
Lawns only need watering every 3 to 5 days in the summer. A hearty rain can eliminate the need for watering for up to 2 weeks.

Leave Your Grass Long14. Leave grass long
Raising your lawn mower blade to its highest setting encourages grass roots to grow deeper and grass blades to hold moisture longer than with a closely clipped lawn. Longer grass means less evaporation and fewer weeds.

15. Tune up your system
Inspect irrigation systems, and fix leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Make sure you are watering your plants and not the street or driveway.

The City of Spokane Water Department

The City of Spokane Water Department provides education for adults and youth. This program includes:

  • Classroom presentations
  • Field trip opportunities
  • Guest speakers
  • Community events

For additional information on educational opportunities and how to conserve water, contact Kristen Zimmer, Water Stewardship Educator, at or at 509.742.8144.