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SPECIAL TO THE REPORTER

Weather reports show that rainfall levels were extremely low during this year&8217;s winter months.

With this in mind, the Birmingham Water Works (BWW) wants its customers to plan their spring and summer water usage wisely.

In the spring, many customers begin working in their lawns and gardens. However, winter rains have been significantly lower than usual, according to the National Weather Service and the Alabama Office of State Climatology.

From November 2006 to March 12, 2007, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area received 11.66 inches of rain. That is a 9.4 inch shortfall compared to the normal downpour of 21.06 inches.

&8220;We want to be proactive and simply provide some pertinent information to our customers about actual rain received so they can plan their activities properly based on these facts,&8221; said Mac Underwood, BWW General Manager.

For those who are planning lawn and garden activities this spring, the BWW would like customers to keep these helpful tips in mind:

-Try Xeriscaping, which involves using plants that require less water.

-Install the most water efficient irrigation devices. (Contact your local garden center or hardware store for more information.)

-For new lawns, consider planting bahiagrass, bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, which are more heat resistant. Do not over-water established lawns; one inch of water per week is generally enough.

-For more details concerning the planting of flowers, trees and shrubs, please see your local nursery, gardening center or county extension office.

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Water Works Board serves more than 750,000 customers in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, Walker and St. Clair counties.