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June 2013 Water Conservation QuarterlyWater Conservation June 2013 water water management for a sustainable future conservation Lake Oswego www.lowaterconservation.com Let’s Talk Water A Managed System Kevin McCaleb, Water Conservation Coordinator 503-675-3747 kmccaleb@co.oswego.or.us Starting July 1, the City’s new water rates will be implemented. For those that keep their water use in the 1st tier through the summer, water bills will raise somewhere around $10 to $15 per billing cycle. However, those that hit the 2nd and 3rd tiers in the summer will likely see a much larger impact. Factors driving these increases are improvements to the water system and treatment plant infrastructure to ensure safe, reliable water service to the City for the foreseeable future. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 report card on America’s infrastructure, available at www.infrastructurereportcard.org, this country must invest an estimated 3.6 Trillion dollars in its infrastructure by 2020. Overall, the state of infrastructure in America is given a D+, and the state of our country’s drinking water infrastructure is given a D. Lake Oswego, in partnership with Tigard, has made the tough decision to step up and make an investment in our water system to ensure it meets the needs for the future. Based on this report card, other communities are also faced with the same critical issues. Have you ever counted the number of times you turn the tap on in a day? We get up every morning and we maybe take a shower, make coffee, wash our faces, shave, brush our teeth and head out the door for work. When we get home we make dinner, wash the dishes, maybe do a load of laundry, , bathe our kids, brush our teeth, go to bed and do it all again the next day. In the summer, you may add to the mix watering the garden and yard. A week is completed, and you probably never even noticed the water you used. All you did was turn Green Home & Aging-in-Place Remodel Open House, August 17 From energy and water consumption, to material and product use and indoor air quality, a big part of our environmental impact happens at home. The Lake Oswego Sustainability Advisory Board invites you to stop by the Green Home Open House (2134 Wembley Park Road) on Saturday, August 17, between 1 and 4 p.m. to learn more. The home tour will showcase the effort that one local resident has made to inspire and encourage others to do the same. Continued on page 2 Continued on page 3 2 Water Conservation Serviceberry Scientific name: Amelanchier alnifolia Category: Native deciduous tree or shrub common to open areas of coniferous forestsHeight: 4-6 feet rarely 10 feetBloom Time: April to MaySun: Partial to Full SunWater: As with all natives, water the first two to three summers to get established Maintenance: None once establishedFlowers: Compact white flower clusters giving way to edible fruit enjoyed by both humans and wildlifeLeaves: Broadly oval leaves up to 2 inches long turn to red or yellow in the fallUses: Does well in moist or dry soils and has medium depth roots for good erosion control on sunny banks. This wonderful, often overlooked small native tree in the rose family has beautiful clustered white flowers and does well in many habitats. Serviceberry or Saskatoon produces pea-sized, purplish black sweet fruits in August that can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. The fruits were highly prized by Native Americans and often pounded together with meat and dried into cakes. Many wild bird species feast on these berries too. The featured home has been significantly remodeled using sustainability as a guiding philosophy. This included the re-use of as many materials of the original house as possible, installation of highly efficient energy systems, use of a highly-insulated building envelope, and production of energy from solar sources (a 9.2 kWh solar photovoltaic array with 40 solar panels installed through the Solarize West Linn - Lake Oswego offering). The home’s design is an integration of these sustainable parameters with personal comfort as well as the potential future need for wheelchair accessibility. A rainwater collection system is currently in the design phase and will be installed to reduce rainwater runoff from the home’s roof as well as collect for irrigation. Using a unique and innovative bicycle pump design, the homeowner will be able to physically pump water from collection points at the house and garage up to the back of the property to storage containers; an electrical backup pump will also be installed. Water will then run from the storage tanks by gravity to various garden and patio beds that are at lower elevations. The homeowner chose the lot for this project specifically for its excellent solar access and site layout that allows for a single level home to ensure accessibility long into the future. Because the project was permitted as a remodel (not new construction) the footprint of the original house dictated orientation and approximate size. Details about types of improvements made to the home, and the design and contractor team who made it possible, will be available at the home tour. For more information, contact Susan Millhauser, Sustainability Coordinator, 503-635-0291. Green Home RemodelContinued from page 1 3Water Conservation Let’s Talk WaterContinued from page 1 a knob and, voila, clean, safe water. No tricks, nothing fancy, just the same old routine... water on…water off. Not so with some of the other services that enter our homes. WiFi and cable are truly at our beck and call. We invest time and money to buy the newest app or computer program or upgrade for our smart phone. We’ll buy premium packages for our in-home entertainment. And if something breaks? We’ll sit through hours of online help talking with people from other countries to get whatever it is that isn’t working up and running again; or we’ll drive across town to get it fixed. Whatever it takes! We love technology in the palm of our hand and we’ll pay extra to get it. We also pay extra If we exceed our minutes, talk outside of our network, make calls outside of prescribed times, use more gigs than agreed to, or for that matter, simply order an extra service like a movie, or a sporting event or package. Technology too, it seems, has a tiered rate structure. The difference is that we can choose not to have that technology at all, or if we wish, choose to live with a lower quality carrier or even no carrier at all. Without cable or a cell phone, we’ll likely not die or get sick. The same can’t be said about water. So, this year, take a hard look at how you use your water, and the importance that it plays in your day-to-day life. See if you can find areas in your daily/weekly/monthly routine to make some improvements. Take advantage of the programs and free water-saving devices offered by the City. Visit our website at www.ci.oswego.or.us/publicworks/ water-conservation-program for information and tips to help you save water. If you are consistently finding your summertime usage exceeding tier 1 on your water bills, call 503-675-3747 and set up an appointment for an audit. Water conservation is not about doing without; it’s about doing well with what you have. Dirty Car? Here are a couple of tips to help conserve water when washing your car: • Save up to 150 gallons of water when washing your car by using a shut-off nozzle on your hose. • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water on site or sends it to a treatment facility where it is cleaned and returned to the water cycle. Want Help Making Your Yard Less Water Dependant? Paul Lyon’s backyard - an example of backyard habitat The Friends of Tryon Creek offer classes and other help converting your yard from high water using/high maintenance to low water using wildlife friendly habitat. The Backyard Habitat Certification Program provides assistance and incentives to residents with small lots (an acre or smaller) who seek to restore native wildlife habitat to their backyards. For more information, visit www.tryonfriends.org/protect/backyard-habitat. 4 Water Conservation 380 A Avenue, PO Box 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 General Information: 503-635-0270 Water Conservation Information: 503-675-3747 Audit Season Officially Opens Review how you use water The City’s Water Conservation Program is now taking appointments for audits. Lake Oswego water customers whose water usage typically hits tier 2 or 3 in the summer are encouraged to set up an appointment. During the visit to your home or business, the City's Water Conservation Professional, Kevin McCaleb, will assess the water-using equipment both inside and outside your home and offer tips to help improve the way you manage your water. You’ll save money and you’ll save water. Residents that have received an audit and followed through with some or all of the recommendations are enjoying summertime water savings exceeding 20%. This service is offered to any Lake Oswego water customer for free. Those who received an audit in previous years are not eligible to receive another audit. To schedule an audit, call Kevin at 503-675-3747. Water Strategies to Help Lower your Bills The City’s Water Conservation Program is offering a class to help ratepayers control their watering costs. The class - offered at City Hall from 6 to 8 p.m., on June 20, July 11 and July 18 - will focus on learning how to read your water meter, understanding your water bill, irrigation tips and techniques and how to use the City’s weather stations to help manage outdoor watering on your property. Pre-registration is required. A minimum class attendance of 15 must be achieved one week prior to the class date. To sign up, go to https://www.ci.oswego.or.us/publicworks/ webforms/water-strategies-help-lower-your-bills. For more information, contact Kevin McCaleb at 503-675- 3747 or kmccaleb@ci.oswego.or.us. Kevin McCaleb, Water Conservation Coordinator for the City of Lake Oswego, is your featured instructor. Kevin is an authorized instructor for the Irrigation Association, and teaches classes and seminars on these subjects regionally and nationally. Some Facts About Water and Lawns • Watered lawns are 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the outside air. • Lawns within 15 feet of a house/building that are regularly watered reduce the need for summertime air conditioning. Cutting the water and stressing lawns beyond that 15-foot limit can save as much as 35% on summer water use. • Drier lawns deter gophers and moles. (They prefer moist ground for tunneling and hunting/foraging.) • Installing a rain sensor can save 12% on summer water use. (Rain sensors, which normally sell for between $25 and $50, can be purchased at City Hall for $5.) • Americans typically apply 40% to 50% more water on their lawns than required by the plant. • Water that is applied in irrigation cycles and in amounts that penetrate the soil deeper than the roots of the plant is wasted. • Irrigation runoff from landscapes carries with it fertilizers, pesticides, automotive drippings and a host of other pollutants into the storm system and eventually to lakes and streams. No matter how much, or how frequently, you put water onto your patio, driveway, street or house, they will not grow!