Facts and tips on water usage and conservation are presented weekly by the city of Walla Walla, in partnership with Walla Walla Community College and the Union-Bulletin.

Precipitation and moisture

Last May: 2.65 inches for the month

This May so far: .29 inches

Chinook salmon return numbers

Fish numbers in the Walla Walla River counted at Nursery Street Bridge in Milton-Freewater, as of May 11, 2023, are Spring Chinook, 0; Steelhead, 396.

Data collected by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Department of Natural Resources; funding provided by Bonneville Power Administration.

Water usage

This week’s average water use by all city customers: 9.65 million gallons per day. Last week’s average water use: 8.33 million gallons per day. Second week of May 2022 average water use: 5.57 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of May 5 to May 11, precipitation was 0.26 inches and turf grass in the area used 0.82 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data. Home irrigators should have run spray type sprinklers 2 times for 11 minutes and rotor type sprinklers 2 times for 42 minutes. Calculations are based on average precipitation rates at the Walla Walla Community College weather station, please adjust for local conditions.

Yard care and water savings tips

• Some of the best practices for maintaining healthy home gardens and landscapes also cut water use, a particularly important benefit during a drought. Adding compost to your soil on a regular basis increases the amount of water your soil can hold, therefore decreasing the number of times you need to apply water to your landscape. Compost improves the soil texture, holds moisture, provides food for beneficial bacteria and nutrients for plants.

• Give plants a good start. Prepare the soil by mixing 20% to 25% compost into soil in planting beds. For trees and shrubs, mix compost into the whole planting bed, or just plant in native soil and mulch well. Do not add compost just to their planting holes — that can limit root growth. Set plants so the soil level is at the same height on the stem as at the nursery, to prevent problems. Mulch new plantings well and be sure to water even drought tolerant plants during their first few summers until they build deep roots.

• Watering can — perfect for pots — use one to water potted plants or small areas. Watering with a hose wastes water.

• Be a leak detective. Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.

Contact the city of Walla Walla Water Division at 509-527-4380 if you have questions.

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