June may have been a wet month so far, but eventually the clouds will disappear, the sun will come out, and homeowners will have to rely on themselves to water the lawn.
An initiative from the Town of Golden and the Columbia Basin Trust is teaching residents how to get the most out of their waterings, and ideally, consume less.
“They started the program last year, and what they did is focus on the town itself,” said Avinga Atkinson, water smart ambassador for the Town of Golden.
The Town did some major work on their infrastructure including their water mains, some of which had leaks, and did some upgrading to make sure the town’s water system was running as efficiently as possible.
“They worked so hard last year, there’s not too much left to do with the town. I thought that philosophy was wonderful, work on your own stuff first and go from there,” said Atkinson.
This year, the water smart program is focusing on residents and ICI (industrial, commercial, institutional), and their systems. Watering lawns is one of the biggest water consumption activities, and Atkinson will spend the summer teaching people how to best do that. He will be doing free assessments on private residences to identify any problems, and help people draft an effective watering plan.
“What’s involved is we look at the lawn, we actually take a sample. Then we take it apart, look at the root system and how things are that way, how much soil you have. Then we look at the other plants and shrubs in the yard, and if there are any concerns there,” said Atkinson.
“One of the main things is adhering to the watering times that the Town has. And then within those watering times, they’ve done studies that show that it’s better to do 15 to 20 minutes, once in the morning and once in the evening.
“I think a lot of us have been brought up to do big waterings, flood it. But then it does just that, it floods away. It gets that initial amount of water, but then it’s gone, and the roots don’t go down deep to go after it.”
The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage people to consume less water. Golden may be surrounded by natural water sources, but the cost of infrastructure to extract that water is a major expense.
“The infrastructure that provides water for us is a huge cost. So if they have to start upgrading, or adding another well, that could cost millions of dollars, so if we can avoid doing that it’s great,” said Atkinson.
“It’s our taxes that pay for this, so it’s in our best interest to keep our consumption as low as we can.”
Assessments are free, just call the Town office at 344-2271 to book one. And every resident who does an assessment also gets a free water timer that attaches to the faucet.