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

October 2019: 1.52 inches

This October so far: 0.86 inches

Chinook salmon and steelhead return numbers

Fish numbers in the Walla Walla River counted at Nursery Street Bridge in Milton Freewater, as of September 4, 2020, are spring chinook, 78, and steelhead, 179.

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: 12.05 million gallons per day. Last week’s average water use: 13.74 million gallons per day. Third week of September 2019 average water use: 9.63 million gallons per day.

Water use guidelines

For the week of September 11 — September 17, precipitation was 0.00 inches and turf grass in the area used 0.66 inches of moisture, according to WSU AgWeathernet data. Home irrigators should have run spray type sprinklers 2 times for 14 minutes and rotor type sprinklers 2 times for 50 minutes. Calculations are based on average precipitation rates, please adjust for local conditions.

Yard care and water savings tips

  • Winterize your pipes: Preventing burst pipes and leaks are your best bets when it comes to conserving water in winter. On top of dripping your faucets, it is a good idea to make sure outdoor pipes, like the ones running to your backyard spigot, are wrapped. This way, when temperatures drop below freezing, they stay warmer than the air and are less likely to develop leaks or burst.
  • Insulate hot water pipes: Ever notice that it takes your shower longer to get hot when it’s freezing out? That’s because your pipes are colder. Go to your crawl space or basement and wrap your pipes in insulation. Not only does this help the hot water stay hot, but it helps protect these pipes from the cold, which can cause leaks.
  • Aerating in the Fall: Because people spend time enjoying their yards during the summer, grass takes a beating. Compaction compresses the space in the soil where oxygen can be available to the roots. Aerating helps overcome compaction. A punch-core aerator is best.
  • Overseeding and Topdressing the Lawn: The early fall is a good time to overseed a lawn that might need renovation. Grass that can establish itself in the fall will come back in the spring, more vigorous. Before overseeding, aerate and top dress with compost or sand. This is an easy way to ensure a lusher lawn in the spring.
  • De-thatching for the Winter: A thin layer of thatch is actually beneficial to lawns. A layer beyond ½” thick is not beneficial and can promote disease and fungal problems by limiting airflow between the soil and the top of the grass. Thatch is not composed of grass clippings but is rather dead stems that build up between the soil and the growing grass leaves. Aerating is the best way to control thatch issues in a lawn.

Additional water conservation information

A dripping leak consumes 15 gallons per day, 450 gallons per month and costs $1.02 per month.