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  • Water Conservation

Public Works

Water Conservation

Known for its abundant rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, it is sometimes difficult to understand why we need to conserve water. As our community has grown, our water needs have grown. We all need to use water wisely to make sure that we have it when we need it, to reduce the cost of developing new supplies and to leave more water in the rivers for fish and recreation.

The City of Tigard is committed to the protection and conservation of our natural resources. Our efforts to achieve this goal have been through public education at community and regional events as well as having an active school education program. 

Educational Programs

The City of Tigard values the importance of water education and offers a number of  resources for teachers and schools at no cost. These presentations can also be tailored to meet individual classroom curriculum needs.

A few of the popular presentations that teachers have chosen in the past are:

  • Incredible Journey
    With the roll of a die, students simulate the movement of water within the water cycle.  By role-playing a water molecule, students conceptualize the water cycle as more than a predictable two-dimensional path (suitable for 1st-5th grades).
  • Incredible Edible Aquifer
    Can pollutants get to the water we drink?  As each student makes an edible aquifer, they gain an understanding of how contaminants can reach a water supply (suitable for 3rd-5th grades).

Annually, the City of Tigard offers one free assembly performed by Mad Science to each elementary school.

To schedule a presentation or to obtain more information about the Water Conservation Program, please contact our public works staff at 503-718-2591.

Indoor Water Conservation

  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. 
  • Take shorter showers. We recommend no more than five minutes. 
  • Take shallow baths - fill the tub half-full or less. 
  • Try a navy shower. Due to limited water on ships, sailors are taught to get wet, turn off the water, soap and scrub, then briefly turn the water on to rinse. 
  • Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket. 
  • When shaving, rinse razors with a short burst of water, or by using a partially filled sink. 
  • While waiting for the water to get hot for a shower or bath, fill a bucket and use the water for houseplants or on your landscape. 
  • Check faucets, pipes, and toilets for leaks once a year. A faucet drip or invisible leak in a toilet can add up to over 100 gallons per week. 
  • Replace old toilets with a 1.28 gallon per flush high efficiency toilets. Older toilets use can use 3.5 or more gallons per flush.

  • Run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher. Use the shortest running cycle needed for each load of dishes. 
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for drinking instead of waiting for the water from the tap to get cold. 
  • Do not use water to defrost frozen foods. Use your microwave’s defrost function or put it in the fridge the night before you prepare your meal.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the wastebasket and/or compost more. 
  • While hand washing dishes, use as little dish soap as possible to minimize rinsing. 

Whole Household
  • Install 1.0 gallon per minute aerators in your bathroom faucets and 1.5 aerators in your kitchen faucets. 
  • Insulate your water pipes. This can help prevent frozen pipes that can crack from water expanding inside them.
  • Encourage children to save water. Avoid the purchase of recreational toys that require a constant stream of water.

Outdoor Water Conservation

  • Visit a car wash that recycles their water.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean the driveway and sidewalk.
  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, etc) to the property owner or local authorities. 

Irrigation Systems
  • Adjust sprinklers to water the lawn, not driveways and sidewalks.
  • Use a timer when watering with a hose.
  • Add a rain sensor to your automatic system.
  • Keep irrigation systems running efficiently - repair, replace or adjust sprinkler heads, and check the system for leaks.
  • Use drip irrigation in your planted beds and gardens.
In Your Yard 
  • Water your lawn before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to reduce evaporation.
  • Use mulch in the garden and around shrubs to save moisture.
  • Collect and use rainwater for watering your garden.
  • Plant native plants and trees.
  • Direct downspouts toward shrubs or trees.
  • When mowing your lawn, allow clippings to remain on the lawn. This slows evaporation and can save two to three applications of fertilizer per growing season.
  • Apply water slowly so the soil can absorb it without running off.
  • Aerate your lawn to loosen soil and reduce erosion.

How much water does my lawn really need?

Did you know your lawn only needs one inch of water a week — this includes rainfall!

Here is a simple way to figure out how long to water your lawn:
  1. Set out 5 tuna cans (or something similar) at various places on your lawn within your sprinkler’s range.  Place cans halfway between the sprinkler and in the areas that generally receive the least amount of sprinkler water.
  2. Turn on your sprinklers for exactly 15 minutes.
  3. Measure the depth of the water in each can.  Add the numbers and divide by 5 to get the average water depth (in inches) of all the cans.
  4. Check the chart and locate your average water depth.  The box to the right of that number lists your total weekly watering time.
Average depth in the
cans after 15 minutes    
Number of minutes
to water 1"
1/8" 120
3/16" 80
1/4" 60
5/16" 46
3/8" 40
1/2" 30
5/8" 24
3/4" 20
1" 15 
1-1/4" 12
Watering at the best time

Heat and wind cause water to evaporate more quickly.  By watering early in the morning, when the air is calm, evaporation is kept to a minimum, and results are the best.  Watering in the evening is next best.

Getting rid of puddles and runoff 
If water puddles or runs off to another part of the landscape, the soil may have a high clay content. Reduce watering time to avoid runoff.

In any case, watering for shorter periods over a longer total time will give the best results.  Consider installing a timer at the outdoor faucet to make this an easier job.

If there are still problems getting water to penetrate the soil, the lawn may need to be aerated or thatched.  Yard and garden centers in many areas carry the right tools for this job, as do many equipment rental companies.

Water Conservation Kits

To encourage water wise practices both inside and outside the home, Tigard Water Service Area residents can request FREE water conservation kits. To receive a kit, please stop by the Public Works Building located at 8777 SW Burnham, Tigard, OR 97223 (Mon-Thurs: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.).

Indoor Conservation Kit:
  • Five minute shower timer
  • Shower head
  • Aerators for the kitchen and bathroom
  • Teflon tape
  • Leak detection tablets
  • Fill cycle diverter for toilets
  • Informational brochures
Gauge in grass
 Outdoor Conservation Kit:
  • Low-flow hose nozzle
  • Set of watering gauges
  • Water wise wildflower seeds
  • Informational brochures

Request a free water audit

As a service to Tigard Water Service Area customers, the city now offers free water audits to help citizens find ways to use less water.  Request a free water audit.
Public Works Department
Mon–Thurs: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hours of Operation
Mon-Thurs: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Water Conservation Kits
Stop by the Public Works Building located at 8777 SW Burnham St. and pick up a free Indoor or Outdoor Conservation Kit. 

Available only to water customers in the Tigard Water Service Area, limit one per household.
Other Resources
As a member of the Regional Water Providers Consortium, Tigard encourages you to visit for more information on smart and easy ways to save water.  View their entire selection of downloadable materials.

The American Water Works Association is the largest organization of water professionals in the world and a great resource for kinformation on drinking water.

The Clackamas River Water Providers is a coalition of municipal water providers that work together on water resource issues and whose water supply is the Clackamas River. Together, we are working to conserve and protect our natural resources to ensure clean, affordable, drinking water for years to come.

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