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Here are a few suggestions on ways to conserve water.

When you wash a car, use a bucket, sponge and sprayer on the end of a hose

Sweep your driveway instead of spraying it clean with water

Water the lawn with “gray” water from tubs, basins and the laundry

Turn off the sprinklers in rainy or windy conditions

Check automatic sprinkler systems for proper operation

Check sprinklers to make sure they aren’t watering streets and sidewalks

Want to Landscape more intelligently for a drier climate? Here’s how:

Use drought-tolerant (water-conserving) plants and grasses. Local nurseries can help you choose appropriately.

Learn the signs of plant thirst: grass turns a dull blue-green color and stays flat when walked upon; shrubs and ornamental plants droop and lose their gloss.

Use drip irrigation where possible. Delivering the water slower and in smaller doses directly at the plant’s root can save as much as 50% to 70% than misting. Runoff, wind drift and evaporation are also minimized this way.

Use a watering can or a hose with a close-off valve or sprayer when you hand-water.

Mulch lawn clippings back into your grass or use them in your garden. Decaying grass clippings add moisture and nutrients back into the yard, which then requires less water.

Allow your grass to grow a little longer before cutting. Longer blades block out the sun, which shades grass roots and retains moisture.

Watering only every third day, but for longer periods, encourages plants to grow deep root systems.

To find out more about water conservation, visit www.usbr.gov or call your local WSU Extension Service Master Gardener at 509-736-2726. Master Gardeners are usually available at their offices (5600 W Canal Place in Kennewick) from 10AM till Noon and 1PM till 3PM, Monday through Friday.