The city of Spokane is encouraging you to water your lawn early in the morning, use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk and plant native plants that require less water than their non-native counterparts. It's good for the environment. It can save you money on your water bill. And if you don't agree (or just don't care) it's going to cost you starting in January.
The city's new conservation-focused water rate structure, approved by the City Council this spring, means that guy on the corner whose sprinkler always gets stuck watering his driveway instead of his azalea bushes is going to start paying more on his water bill if he doesn't shape up (while you and your 6 am watering schedule will continue to save).
The city kicked off its "Slow the Flow" public awareness campaign today in an effort to prepare citizens for the coming changes and urge them to start conserving now. Not only are city officials showering Spokane with tips on how and why to conserve water, but they are also offering credits up to $375 to water utility customers who install "smart controllers" on their underground sprinkler systems. New systems with rain and soil moisture sensors qualify for the program as long as they are of the "smart" variety, using real-time weather and moisture data to adjust how much water is released. All of the jargon-filled details are at waterstewardship.org.
The campaign will continue via radio, newspaper and online ads throughout the summer.