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Weekly Alibi Trim Your Waste

It's that time of year again--summer--when we use the most water. In fact, from April to September, we use almost twice as much water as we do during winter. So here are a few guidelines to help you save money and H2O in the hot months to come. For details on these and other water-saving programs, call the Water Conservation Office at 768-3655.

• From April to September, only water your lawn between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. These are the cooler hours, when you lose less water to evaporation. But it's best to keep your watering to the early evening or late morning. Midnight spraying can lead to diseases in your plants and trees.

• If your street address is an even number, only water your lawn on even-numbered dates. If it's odd, then do it on odd-numbered dates. This keeps you from overwatering and eliminates the peak demand periods that usually tax our supply in the summer months.

• Xeriscape your property. It truly can be beautiful, and you'll get paid for it! The city recommends arranging your land into three zones: 1) a small oasis of turf or grass 2) around that, a belt of medium-use shrubs or bushes 3) an outer ring of native, low-use plants, which can be anything from soaptree yucca to English lavender. In general, the rule of thumb is 20 percent high-water use plants and 80 percent medium- or low-use plants. And be creative!

• Install low-water-use fixtures in your bathroom. For your trouble, the city will give you $100 for putting in a low-flow toilet and $8 for a water-saving shower head. If you don't, you're just flushing our future.

--Blake de Pastino

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