Drought, Conservation, and Irrigation
Conservation is key to saving money and water. There are many ways to cut down on water at home and on the farm including planting drought tolerant plants, learning about your soil structure and enriching it to hold more water, and investigating new irrigation methods and timing.
Breaking news: January one of the Coldest and Driest in Washington’s History of Automated Snowpack Reading. Read more.
In the Yard and Garden
- Drought Tolerant Landscaping for Washington State – New in 2015, a 19-page resource to help homeowners create a drought-tolerant landscape.
- Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscaping – Searchable website with an extensive list of drought tolerant plants.
Conservation & Irrigation
- A Home Gardener’s Guide to Soils and Fertilizers – Detailed information on soil structure and fertility. How irrigation works in the soil. Discusses organic and synthetic fertilizers and creating and using compost.
- Saving Water: Lawns and Other Turf – Bulletin on techniques to use during drought conditions to protect lawn and turf grass
- Gardening in Washington State – Website covering all aspects of home gardening.
- Hortsense – Website with fact sheets on all types of home gardening pest or disease problems.
- Drip Irrigation for the Yard and Garden – Publication describing how to set up a drip irrigation system for a yard or garden.
On the Farm and Ranch
- Drought Alert – Website with extensive resources on drought issues.
- Columbia River Basin Long Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast Overview 2011 – A 6MB overview of the water supply was prepared for the Washington State Legislature.
- Soil Testing: A Guide for Farms with Diverse Vegetable Crops – Presents a comprehensive and affordable procedure for implementing an annual soil-testing program for farms with diverse vegetable crops. (5MB)
- Understanding the Relationship Between Water Price, Value, and Cost – A bulletin explaining the difference between price, value, and cost in the context of water along with a discussion on water markets.
- Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches – Fact sheet discussing the current research on the suitability of biodegradable plastic mulches for agricultural uses.
- High Residue Farming Under Irrigation: What and Why – Explains cropping systems in which less tillage is used in order to keep crop residue on the surface of a field which provides benefits to soils and crops and conserves water.
- Then and Now: 125 Years of Dryland Wheat Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest – A 22-page history of dryland wheat farming since the 1880’s in the Columbia Plateau which receives under 12 inches of precipitation.
- Practical Use of Soil Moisture Sensors for Irrigation Scheduling – Fact sheet on how to improve crop health and performance using soil moisture measurement tools ranging in price from $40 to $4,500.
- Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture – A project committed to sustainability and building resiliency in cereal production systems.
- Does Wetter Water Make Fatter Wallets? Using Soil Wetting Agents – Overview of water repellency as it relates to soil, and explains how surfactants work to increase water absorption.
- Irrigation Water Quality for crop Production in the Pacific Northwest – A publication focusing on using water testing and analysis to manage and treat water for irrigated agriculture.
- Irrigating with Big Guns vs. Boom Carts in Northwestern Washington – Compares the benefits and drawbacks of big gun and boom-type irrigation systems in northwestern Washington.
- Irrigation in the Pacific Northwest – Extensive website dedicated to increasing grower profitability while protecting and improving our environment. Includes irrigation calculator and online tutorials. Covers Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
- Field Flooding for Controlling Soilborne Plant Pathogens in Western Washington – Fact sheet on of the effects of field flooding on soilborne potato pathogens.
- Managing Irrigation Water on Different Soils in the Same Field – Provides practical suggestions for irrigation managers who maintain fields with highly variable soils.
- Managing Wheel-lines and Hand-lines for High Profitability – Advice on managing irrigation systems and soil basics. Provides techniques that can lead to higher profitability, reduced environmental impact, and improved water quality. Also available in Spanish.
- Washington Water Rights for Agricultural Producers – An overview of water rights with information on applying for new water rights and how to maintain rights.