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Experts urge Idahoans to conserve water heading into the gardening season

"Banking water now will pay dividends to us in August when really every single day is hard on plants when they don’t water,” said Jos Zamzow.

BOISE, Idaho — As Idahoans get ready to shape up their gardens for the season, experts caution against using too much water as Idaho’s drought conditions continue.

“Very little of the water that you shower with disappears in the system, but what you use in your yard evaporates and that's gone,” said David Hoekema, a Hydrologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

According to Hoekema, most of Idaho’s reservoirs won’t fill up this summer. Recent data shows that February of 2022 was the eighth driest on record and snowpack levels are not where they should be.

“This summer’s it’s a good idea to practice water conservation,” Hoekema said.

Tony Laidlaw, a long-time Idahoan, takes pride in his garden and looks forward to planting season every year.

“Each area of the yard I have it watered specifically for that area, the water needs of that area are based on the plant,” Laidlaw said. “We need rain, we really need the rain.”

He said over the years he has had to change where and what he plants, because of Idaho’s dry conditions.

“We look out our house and see Bogus and we say 'there's no snow up there, there should be snow,'” Laidlaw said.

In an attempt to conserve water, Laidlaw said he uses a drip system, dry-scrapes, and plants things that require less water and can tolerate heat. Experts say those are conservation measures that more people should consider doing.

According to Jos Zamzow, who is the co-CEO of Zamzows and is also a part of Nampa’s drought task force, said most people are overwatering as it is.

“Water in April is not very important as these plants are coming alive, the temperatures are not hot, really banking water now will pay dividends to us in August when really every single day is hard on plants when they don’t water,” Zamzow said.

Zamzow also said that during a drought year, it’s best not to set your sprinklers to automatic until May.

“It really is up to all of us to do a good job and be frugal with the water,” he said.

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