Why should I conserve when it rains all the time?
While we are fortunate to live in an area with abundant rainfall and a seemingly endless supply of water, water supplies are still limited. Our water supply is constantly being subjected to increased demands by population growth, regulations limiting withdrawals, reductions in return flows due to development and the impacts of climate change.
The truth is that we all need to practice water conservation for a number of reasons:
- Our water comes from a river not a reservoir or lake. Water use is low in the winter when there is plenty of water in the river, but use spikes in the summer when river flows are at their lowest and the amount that can be withdrawn from the river is restricted.
- We share the Clackamas River with endangered salmon species and limiting withdrawals from the river is essential to their health.
- Reducing the amount of water each person uses helps delay the need for constructing costly system improvements.
- Developing new water sources is difficult, costly, and uncertain. More efficient use of our current supply postpones the need to develop new supplies.
- Conserving water reduces the amount of chemicals and electricity required for treating and moving water through the system, helping to keep costs in check.
Cooking, cleaning, bathing, flushing…
We all use water in the home every single day. Being conscious of your water use, changing habits that waste water, repairing leaks and replacing water guzzling fixtures can add up to big water savings over time.
- Repair leaky toilets. One leaky toilet can use up to 78,000 gallons in one year, which all shows up on your bill. Leaks can be silent. Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and if the color shows in the bowl after a few minutes, you have a leak. You can also contact our office for leak detection dye tablets.
- Replace old toilets with water conserving 1.6 gallon flush models. The original low flow toilets were known not to work well. Newer models have been re-engineered to function well with 1.6 gallons per flush. Replacing a traditional toilet that uses 3.5 to 6 gallons per flush with one that uses 1.6 gallons or less translates into saving about 16,000 gallons per year for a family of four.
- When replacing water using appliances, look for the WaterSense label.
Use the disposal less and the garbage more. Running the disposal chews through a significant amount of water. Use the trash or compost food waste instead.
- Get the most for your water money by running dishwashers with full loads.
- Adjust your washing machine water level to match the load size in order to minimize waste.
Water use within Sunrise more than doubles during summer months. Much of that increase is due to landscape irrigation. There are many simple actions you can take to assure that your landscape is receiving the water it needs while avoiding waste.
- Water your lawn only when necessary. If you step on the grass and it springs back it doesn’t need water yet.
- Cycle and soak. When watering your lawn, break watering times up into two or more intervals, especially on sloped lawns. This allows the water to soak in and really penetrate deep into the soil which promotes deeper root growth in your lawn and makes it healthier and more drought resistant in the long run.
- Use sprinkler timers. If you water with a hose and sprinkler, add a timer at the tap to assure that you don’t forget to turn the water off or water to the point that it is running off your lawn.
- If you have an in-ground irrigation system, adjust your timer schedule several times during the irrigation season to better match your lawns needs with temperature and rainfall.
- Maintain your irrigation system for maximum efficiency. Clogged spray heads, leaks in the system, changes in your landscaping, spray heads that water sidewalks and driveways and overgrown spray heads can all affect the efficiency of you irrigation system and require more water to achieve the desired effect.
- Plant landscapes that use native and low water use species. Check out the water wise demonstration garden at Clackamas Community College for great ideas.
A variety of rebates for the installation of water conserving toilets and landscape irrigation improvements are available through the Clackamas River Water Providers on a limited basis each year. Navigate to the Clackamas River Water Providers site to verify availability and view eligibility requirements.