Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sequim-area residents enjoy a wealth of information on water conservation

By Dan Partridge, Communications Manager, Water Resources Program

Members of Future Farmers of America at Sequim High School prepare site for new water-efficient demonstration garden
Water conservation on the Olympic Peninsula is making a splash! People are learning about low water-use landscaping, including groundcovers that provide good alternatives to lawns, the “miracle of mulch” and much more – thanks to the Clallam Conservation District.

Water conservation has always been important in the Sequim area, touted as the driest coastal community north of Los Angeles. Early residents understood the value of water even before D.R. “Crazy” Callen and his neighbors formed the Sequim Prairie Ditch Company in 1895 and brought Dungeness River water to the Sequim prairie for irrigation.

“Without irrigation, the mere sixteen inches of precipitation the area receives each year makes profitable farming and traditional gardening very challenging, if not impossible,” said Conservation District Manager Joe Holtrop.

Learn how to reduce water use by 50, even 100 percent

Today a wealth of information is available to Sequim-area homeowners on how to get the most out of that 16 inches of precipitation. The conservation district teaches them how to put conservation practices into play that can reduce water use by as much as 50 percent, even up to 100 percent with proper landscaping techniques.

Since 1990, Holtrop has conducted workshops and presentations at the district focused on conserving landscape irrigation water. In recent years the district has expanded its offerings to include courses on natural landscaping and this year Holtrop is developing a helpful brochure for homeowners.

Your choice of landscape irrigation system can make a big difference

This year the district’s work in water conservation education was funded in part through a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology.

A pilot program also evaluates landscape irrigation systems for homeowners and provides tips on how those systems can be improved to reduce water use. The program is modeled on one developed by the Cascade Water Alliance out of Seattle.

Water- efficient demonstration garden debuts this month

A water-efficient demonstration garden is opening later this month at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim.

The public will be introduced to the Sequim Low Impact Development Demonstration Site at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 20th, when the conservation district officially unveils the garden. The district will be thanking the many contributors to the project and providing a little tour of the site. The garden is funded by Ecology, Washington State Conservation Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency via the Jefferson County Department of Community Development. Among the many local businesses and organizations that stepped up to provide materials, plants or volunteer labor for the garden are the Sequim High School Future Farmers of America and the Sequim Realtors Association.

For more information on the Clallam Conservation District call 360-452-1912 or visit the Clallam Conservation District Web site. For more information on water conservation go to Ecology’s water conservation Web site.

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