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Waterwise Tips: Keep On Conserving, Says Seattle Public Utilities

The clouds and cooler temperatures might have some Seattle homeowners thinking it’s okay to get out those sprinklers and garden hoses again and bring the green back to their lawns.

Actually, it’s still pretty hot out there and the small amount of rain coming in won’t make much of a difference.  Seattle Public Utilities recently changed the water supply outlook from “good” to “fair ” because people are using more water this summer due to the unprecedented heat.

Conservation Planner Kelly O’Rourke says there’s still plenty in the reservoirs and rain could help a little. But they’re asking people to think about ways to conserve year round. 

Besides the usual tips, such as watering all your plants at times of day when it’s cooler (such as early mornings and in the evening) there are techniques that might be less obvious. 

“And one of them, we call ‘mow high’" O'Rourke said. explaining that even tiny blades of grass can help reduce evaporation because they can provide shade for the lawn's roots.

" So –set your mower to  two inches, on your mowing height.”

Also, she says they DO want people to frequently water plants that have yet to establish, such as trees that are younger than three years old.

That's because mature trees help cool the city and meet livability goals, by increasing the collective canopy over the long term.

The city utility's  web site is Savingwater dot org and is shared with about two dozen smaller utilities in the region.   

Note: this story originally cited Seattle City Light, not Seattle Public Utilities, as the source of the water supply outlook and conservation tips. We regret the error. 

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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