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Slow the Flow

The City of Spokane is encouraging residents to “Slow the Flow” of water and promote water stewardship.

Protecting and preserving our water resources is a long-term goal of the City and is part of our sustainability efforts. The City's Water Department also must meet water conservation goals as part of state and federal requirements. Reducing summertime water usage is of particular importance.

Using less water also translates into savings on citizens' utility bills. Water customers pay both a monthly base fee for water as well as a water consumption rate tied to the amount of water they use.

Using Water Wisely

Using water wisely does not mean you have to sacrifice a green lawn or take a shorter shower. You can become a personal water steward by taking simple steps to reduce your outdoor water usage:

  • 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. Early morning watering is best.
  • Don't let your hose run. While washing your car, use a nozzle or shut off the faucet until you spray. Running a 5/8-inch hose for 30 minutes wastes up to 150 gallons of water.
  • Don't water streets and sidewalks. Adjust your sprinkler to avoid the pavement; otherwise, evaporation will claim all the water that doesn't end up on your lawn.
  • Turn your system off if it's raining. A smart controller can do this for you and make sure your lawn gets the right amount of water.
  • Consider replacing lawn with native plantings. Native plants naturally need less water and thrive in our environment.

What Else Can You Do?

  • Take the Tuna Can Test (PDF 507 KB). Using simple tuna cans, you can determine how long you should be watering your lawn.
  • Try our interactive Sprinkler Calculator. This quick test will give you a better idea on how much water is enough depending on your plantings, type of sprinkler, and type of soil.
  • Watch this video on the use of smart controllers. This one Is by RainBird but all manufacturers of smart controllers have information on line. You can also find instruction manuals for your automated system if you know the brand and model number.
  • Register for an on-site automatic sprinkler system review. The Water Department is offering on-site automatic sprinkler system reviews to assess your system and discuss landscaping options. Proper watering will improve the health of your landscaping and maximize the effectiveness of your water use. A limited number of the 45-minute appointments with a Certified Landscape Irrigation Professional are available by calling 509.742.8144.

More Information

WSU-Spokane County Extension and Master Gardeners:
Links to water-wise techniques and garden, lawn and landscaping information, including drought-resistant plant ideas.

The Simple Rain Gauge: Your most important watering tool:
Summary of the use of rain gauges for not only rain measurement but for measuring sprinkler output.

Spokane Smart Scape:
Save water in your yard by learning about and implementing low water use landscaping.

Spokane Conservation District: Water Resources:
Find technical assistance and information about both water quality and quantity projects to protect, enhance, and maintain water resources in Spokane County.

Spokane County Water Resources:
Lots of great links to information about area-wide water.

Spokane Aquifer Joint Board (SAJB):
A collaborative effort to protect the public water supply, the SAJB helps develop and implement public water supply programs such as wellhead protection, conservation and protection of associated water rights. Also, check out the Aqua Duck coloring and comic books.

Automatic Irrigation FAQs (
Helpful answers to common questions about automatic irrigation systems.

Video: The Groundwater Story:
A fun and informative musical cartoon video for kids and adults which teaches about the importance of groundwater.

Spokane Valley – Rathdrum Prairie Hydrologic Study:
For those interested in the science of the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie.

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