BEND, OR -- Central Oregonians are asked to start reducing the amount of water used on lawns and other plants. "You know, the fact of the matter is that our landscapes just don’t need nearly the amount of water this time of year that they needed back in July or August," says Mike Buettner. He's Bend's Water Conservation Program Manager.
"We’ve come down from the smoky August that we had, we warmed up a little bit in early September, and now we’re on this cool down and we’ve actually been lucky enough to get a little bit of precipitation," says Buettner. However, he admits the rain we've gotten hasn't been enough to saturate roots. "Unless that precipitation is 1/8-1/4” at a time, it really doesn’t impact the landscape water requirements a whole lot." Buettner recommends property owners re-program irrigation timers, "If you were running a schedule for, say, 15 minutes in the middle of the summer, you should be running at least half that or less, this time of year because those nighttime temperatures just drop out. And, when that happens, boy, the plant-water requirements really, really start to decrease this time of year."
He also asks that property owners check sprinkler heads in advance of freezing weather, to make sure they aren't spraying onto walkways and roads. "It’s a big issue for pedestrians and cyclists, as we see more and more people taking alternative forms of transportation. That little bit of water that gets on the over spray, over the curb, on to the road, it matters that much more this time of year."
If plants and soil are healthy, Buettner says it's not too early to shut down irrigation systems, all together, and blow out sprinklers for the season.