Currently, snowpack levels are well below 50% of average and this means it will very likely be a low-water year. K.I.D. water resources depend heavily on snowpack in the mountains: slow melt sustains water supplies throughout the summer, in the Yakima Basin. It has been unusually warm and wet down here in the desert this past winter and although these days are uplifting, the warmer and more wet conditions will impact K.I.D. water supplies for the upcoming irrigation season. Why? USBR has allotted K.I.D. a portion of the water that is returned from users upstream and during a low-water year that amount is reduced to a percentage of what is returned.
In preparation for this likelihood, here are some things you can do on your end:
1. Avoid new plantings.
2. Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and split watering time into shorter periods with 15-minute breaks in between each session to allow water to soak in, while minimizing runoff.
3. Choose drought tolerant plants. The information card attached to the plant should provide you with the details you need on the amount of water each plant requires.
4. Locate plants that use similar amounts of water in the same areas to help avoid over and under watering.
5. Check your irrigation system to be sure it is working optimally: adjust sprinklers to water only what grows, clean your filters, fix broken fixtures and pipe, and consider switching to impact sprinklers, which are more efficient and tend to clog less.
6. Add mulch around plants, trees, and shrubs. Mulching reduces evaporation by up to 70% and inhibits water thirsty weeds from growing.
7. Talk to your HOA about developing a watering schedule with neighbors to help ensure adequate supply and water pressure.
8. If you do not need it, do not use it. Brown lawns can be brought back to life with aerating, dethatching and fertilizing.
And now, here is what we are doing on our end. K.I.D. has a comprehensive policy for low-water years that includes education and outreach to our customers, seeking additional funding and water supplies for our customers where they are available, and capital improvement projects, such as canal lining and automated gates. We are also committed to keeping you informed. We will be connecting with our residential, agricultural and public facilities customers on what can be expected and what KID is doing to mitigate the impact, in greater detail.
Through sustained efficient water use and by employing conservation measures, each one of us makes a difference to someone else, because every drop of water that isn’t wasted, is a drop that can be put to good use down the line and when we all work together the best outcomes are achieved.
Find our drought plan on the front page of our website: www.kid.org