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Posted on: June 9, 2021

DMWW Asking Customers to Reduce Lawn Watering by 25 Percent



Des Moines Water Works has implemented Stage 1 of its Water Shortage Plan because of drought-induced low river levels and record-breaking customer demand for water. Waukee is a Des Moines Water Works-served community.

These two factors created a 90-percent demand on DMWW’s production capacity, which is the trigger for initiating the Stage 1. On Friday, June 11, Des Moines Water Works delivered almost 90 million gallons of water to its 500,000 customers.

Much of the increase in water demand in the summer is a result of turf irrigation. Customers are asked to reduce their lawn watering by 25 percent.

“This remains a very fluid situation that changes daily depending upon river levels and customer demand,” said Ted Corrigan, chief executive officer and general manager of Des Moines Water Works. “We have taken proactive steps to ensure we have enough water for customers, but the Raccoon River is low enough that you can walk across it. Now, we are asking our customers to do their part and use water wisely.”

Des Moines Water works urges all customers to follow the irrigation schedule, which includes no turf irrigation on Mondays and to limit all other water usage wherever possible. 

“We need all customers, especially those who are large water users, to follow the irrigation schedule and reduce their watering by 25%,” Corrigan said. “Much of the demand on our system right now is caused from watering lawns.  We are asking customers to water less frequently or in shorter duration to help us manage these high demands.”

The Water Shortage Plan was created to manage system demand so customers do not experience pressure, quality or availability issues during periods of extreme demand.

During hot, dry weeks, please be good stewards of the regional water system by limiting or staggering irrigation/lawn watering. In addition to saving money on utility bills, water conservation helps prevent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds. Conserving water also helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions associated with treating and distributing water.

Waukee residents and business owners with established lawns should water/use irrigation systems in line with Des Moines Water Works' odd-even watering schedule, which includes avoiding Mondays. Properties with addresses ending in even numbers (5018) can water on Sundays, Wednesdays and/or Fridays; addresses ending in odd numbers (5019) can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Please avoid watering between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

And, if you are wondering "How much water does my lawn actually need?", ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron writes that established lawns which have not become dormant need "1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week in a single application or two applications three or four days apart. Avoid frequent, light applications of water which promote shallow rooting and lush growth." Read more from ISU.

If interested in learning about other ways to conserve at the tap, check out The Water Project.

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