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LOW WATER LEVELS AFFECTING ALL OF WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY SAYS

 LOW WATER LEVELS AFFECTING ALL OF WASHINGTON,
 WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY SAYS
 OLYMPIA, Wash., June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- After reviewing the state's water supply outlook, Washington State Department of Ecology Director Chuck Clarke today urged all Washington residents to conserve water, the department announced.
 "Our snowpack is essentially gone, and we had well below normal rainfall in May. Every region of the state is being affected to some degree," said Clarke. "Everyone can help by conserving water for essential human needs and for fish and wildlife."
 Rainfall in May was 18 percent of normal statewide. Earlier this week, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service predicted summer streamflows would be below to well below average this year due to early snowmelt and low precipitation.
 Flows in virtually every stream measured by the U.S. Geological Service dropped to below average levels in May. Low stream flows pose a serious threat to fish migration, Clarke noted.
 Several western Washington rivers broke previous low flow records in May, including:
 - The Cowlitz River near Randle, which broke a record set in 1941,
 and
 - The Cedar and Tolt rivers, which fell to 36 and 35 percent of
 normal levels, respectively. These rivers are the main source
 of drinking water for 1.2 million people in the greater Seattle
 area.
 The Little Spokane River nearly broke a 62-year record for low flows in May. One of the steepest drops in the state was recorded in the Palouse River, where the average low flow in May was 18 percent of normal.
 Clarke asked people using ground water also to conserve. "Many communities and families rely on ground water, and ground water depends on precipitation for recharge. We need to be careful not to deplete ground water," he said.
 The long-range weather forecast is for above normal temperatures and average precipitation.
 "We can't expect a wet summer to pull us through," said Clarke. "We're best off making the water we have go as far as possible."
 Following is a fact sheet of outdoor water conservation tips.
 WATER-SAVING TIPS FOR LANDSCAPING AND GARDENING
 What You Can Do
 To reduce outside water use, try these measures:
 - Water the lawn for longer periods, but less frequently. This encourages grass to grow longer roots and makes the lawn more drought resistant. The general rule is to water once a week, long enough for the water to penetrate the ground about 4-6 inches. Use a ruler to measure the depth of the moisture at different points in the lawn. The sprinkler should distribute water evenly and only where it is needed.
 - Water in the evening or early morning and when the wind is not blowing. This reduces evaporation.
 - Remove thatch and weeds to allow water to reach the roots of the grass. Poking holes in the soil (aeration) also allows the roots to get more water.
 - Water shrubs and plants separately from lawns. Plants have different needs and may be over watered if watered at the same time as lawns.
 - Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
 - Buy garden hose nozzles. These adapters shut off the flow of water when the hose is not in use and can save water and reduce trips to the spigot. The best adapters will not leak even though water is flowing through the spigot at a steady rate. Turn down the flow of water to reduce outdoor water use and be kinder to delicate plants.
 - Keep child's play in sprinklers to a minimum.
 - Landscape with native and low-water use plants, and consider reducing the size of your lawn. Ask your county cooperative extension agent, nursery owners, libraries, landscapers and garden and local plant clubs for the names of suitable plants. Native and low water plants require less fertilizer and maintenance than lawns and non- native plants.
 - Use mulches to cover ground around plants. This will help keep moisture in the ground.
 - Consider installing a water-efficient irrigation system. Soaker hoses, drip irrigations and underground sprinkler systems are better than applying water with a hose from a distance. Plants need gentle, direct application of water to the root zones.
 - Wash cars and outside windows with a bucket. Using a bucket of soapy water for the wash and a bucket of clean water for the rinse will drastically reduce water use compared to using a hose to wet, wash and rinse.
 - "Dry clean" sidewalks and driveways. Sweeping sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them down is a big water saver.
 - Clean gutters and downspouts manually instead of hosing them down.
 - Replace leaky or broken sprinklers and sprinkler heads promptly.
 - Collect rainwater. Try redirecting gutters and downspouts into large closed containers to collect water for plants.
 -0- 6/12/92
 /CONTACT: Doug McChesney, 206-459-6117, or Renee Guillierie, 206-438-7761, both of the Washington State Department of Ecology/ CO: Washington State Department of Ecology ST: Washington IN: SU:


LM-SC -- SE003 -- 9683 06/12/92 12:42 EDT
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Date:Jun 12, 1992
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