As irrigation districts prepare to shut off water next month, homeowners can take steps to get ready for a possible second year of drought conditions.
Early indications show a possible low snow pack again next year in the Cascade Mountains, limiting runoff that feeds the rivers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. El Niño conditions could lead to a warm, dry winter in the Northwest.
The Kennewick Irrigation District recommends removing water-thirsty grass from around trees and adding mulch around trees and shrubs to hold in moisture. Lawns may be aerated, dethatched and fertilized.
If new vegetation is planned, KID recommends choosing varieties that are drought-tolerant or have low water requirements.
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KID’s last day of water delivery this year will be Oct. 11. The next day it will begin baseline testing to measure the amount of seepage from its canal. During testing, canals may appear to be fuller than usual as water is backed up to measure water loss.
After water is turned off for the season, valves should be winterized and sprinkler systems blown out to prevent cracking and breaking when temperatures fall below freezing.
Other irrigation district shutoff dates:
▪ Badger Mountain and Franklin irrigation districts: Oct. 19.
▪ Benton Irrigation District: To be determined by the weather.
▪ Columbia Irrigation District: Oct. 15.
▪ East Columbia Basin Irrigation District: Oct. 21. Last day for order Oct. 20.
▪ Kiona Irrigation District: Oct. 15, weather permitting.
▪ Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District: Last day for water delivery changes Oct. 23, last full day of water delivery Oct. 25 and turn-off date for water at the head of the West Canal Oct. 26.
▪ South Columbia Basin Irrigation District: Oct. 27.
▪ Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District: To be determined.
▪ Roza Irrigation District: To be determined.