Conservation Tips

(courtesy Oregon Water Resources Department)

Agricultural Water Use

Apply the water uniformly:

  • Sprinkler Systems:  This requires correct nozzle size, sprinkler spacing, and system pressure.  Check all nozzles for wear and replace worn ones.  Avoid irrigation during periods of high wind and temperature.  During each application, apply the greatest depth of water that’s possible without runoff.  Inspect for leaks.
  • Surface Irrigation:  Move the water quickly across the field.  Irrigate every other furrow.  Irrigate on the “hard” rows compacted by tractor traffic.  Probe the soil to keep track of the “wetted front” to determine irrigation effectiveness.  Reuse water by collecting runoff water at the end of the field and pumping it back into a tailwater reuse pit at the top of the field.  Water savings can be between 30 and 60%.

Household Water Use

Lawn and Garden:

  • Outdoor water use accounts for almost half the water used by the American home, and thus provides the greatest single opportunity for conserving.
  • Water early in the morning before 10:00 a.m.  Watering in the heat of the day allows the water to evaporate and watering late in the day may promote fungus and other lawn diseases.
  • Depending on the weather, it’s generally better to water once a week and provide 1 inch to 1 ½ inches of water.  (If it’s hot, you might have to water more often.)
  • Time how long it takes to apply one inch of water by placing a flat-bottomed can about 6-feet away from the sprinkler.
  • Do not mow lawns too short; taller grass requires less water.  Consider letting your lawn brown out.  It will come back.

Repair Leaks:  

  • Check faucets and hose connections for leaks.  Inspect pipes for pinhole leaks, and leaking joints. A slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day.  Fix it and you will save almost 6,000 gallons a year.

Showers and Baths:  

  • Use low volume showerheads. They are inexpensive and can pay for themselves in water, sewer and energy savings in less than a year.  For a five minute shower they can reduce water usage from some 40 gallons to 12 to 15 gallons.

All tips from the Oregon Water Resources Department