Cities implement water restrictions amid drought warning | KSTP.com

Cities implement water restrictions amid drought warning

Brittney Ermon and Josh Skluzacek
Updated: July 21, 2021 07:19 PM
Created: July 21, 2021 11:40 AM

As drought conditions in Minnesota worsen, some areas in the metro are issuing watering restrictions for yards of homes.

Minneapolis started their restrictions Wednesday.

City officials explained the water levels in the Mississippi River are not where they're supposed to be, so the city wants residents to cut back on water usage so the river can recover.

The city of Woodbury put year-round water restrictions in place years ago. 

“I grew up in Crystal, Minnesota. We never had water restrictions or anything before, but now we do. It's kind of odd,” Woodbury resident Quintin Quinn said.  

Today is an odd day for Quinn.

“I put it in the calendar on my phone and I get the reminder that says, 'Today you can water or you can't,'” he said. 

His address is an odd number, which gives him the green light to water his grass today before noon or after 5 p.m.

“I did it this morning. I got the front yard done then this evening, we'll do the vegetables and flowers,” Quinn said. 

Woodbury residents have been following odd-even watering days for over a decade. 

City officials said so far it’s been effective. 

"On occasion, we do get complaints, but with further education people understand it's very important to have these types of restrictions to effectively operate our municipal water system,” Woodbury Assistant Public Works Director Jim Westerman said. 

In Minneapolis, odd-numbered addresses can water on odd-numbered days. The same rule goes for even-numbered addresses.

“The water restrictions that went in place today are for even and odd sprinkling,” said Peter Pfister, Minneapolis superintendent of water treatment plant operation and maintenance. 

Another restriction prohibits residents from sprinkling lawns outside of the noon to 6 p.m. window.  

City leaders said the goal is to lighten the load on water usage and reduce demand on the Mississippi River.

“We've been taking water from the Mississippi River for 150 years, so we've seen our share of ups and downs,” Pfister said. 

Quinn and his dog Coco are both fans of green grass, but he said you can't have your water and drink it, too. 

"You can either water your grass and have it green or drink water — one of the two,” Quinn said. 

Minneapolis water restrictions are in place until further notice. 

City officials said the goal is to inform the public and be clear about why water restrictions are in place. As far as enforcement, the first step is a written warning and the next is a $25 fine, according to Pfister. 

Friday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced a drought warning, saying 52% of the state is experiencing a severe drought.

Since that warning, watering restrictions were also implemented in these cities around the metro:

The DNR said it takes 3-5 inches of precipitation over a two-week period to significantly alleviate the drought.

The dry conditions have also created stress for farmers and have left some of the state's largest attractions parched.

Unfortunately, with hot temperatures and dry conditions expected over the next week, KSTP Meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas says it's likely drought conditions will only worsen in the coming days.


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