July 27, 2012

Reducing Water Consumption by 10 Percent

In response to Des Moines metro area customers using a record 96.6 million gallons of water, Des Moines Water Works and suburb communities implemented Stage 1 of a water conservation plan, with a goal to reduce total water consumption by 10 percent.  Des Moines Water Works and all metro area suburbs’ primary focus in achieving reduced usage included asking residential and business customers to voluntarily cease lawn irrigation.

How Are we Doing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to enlarge. This graph will be updated as information becomes available.

Stage 1 Water Conservation Facts

  • Des Moines Water Works, with cooperation from metro area suburbs, implemented stage 1 of its water conservation plan on July 24.
  • Stage 1 asks residential and business customers to voluntarily cease lawn irrigation and take other actions to help conserve water.
  • Due to low river levels and water quality issues in the rivers, stage 1 water conservation practices are requested until the weather pattern changes. As of August 21, the voluntary request is still in effect through the end of August.
  • The following communities/water utilities are included in the stage 1 water conservation plan:
  • City of Alleman
  • City of Altoona
  • City of Ankeny
  • City of Berwick
  • City of Bondurant
  • City of Carlisle
  • City of Clive
  • City of Cumming
  • City of Johnston
  • City of Mitchellville
  • City of New Virginia
  • City of Norwalk
  • City of Pleasant Hill
  • City of Polk City
  • City of Runnells
  • City of St. Charles
  • City of Waukee
  • City of Windsor Heights
  • Des Moines Water Works
  • Indianola Municipal Utilities
  • Polk County Benefited Water District
  • Polk County Rural Water District #1
  • Urbandale Water Utility
  • Warren Water District
  • West Des Moines Water Works
  • Xenia Rural Water

What is Des Moines Water Works Doing?

  • Des Moines Water Works has turned off three decorative water fountains located on its Fleur Drive/George Flagg Parkway property.  The Memorial Garden fountain in Water Works Park will be turned back on for scheduled rental activities.
  • Des Moines Water Works has ceased turf irrigation at several locations, except for the Memorial Garden fountain lawn, which has been reduced to every other day.
  • Des Moines Water Works has reduced watering of the Fleur Drive median plants to every other day.
  • Des Moines Water Works has suspended fire hydrant flushing program.  In the case of water main breaks/repairs, fire hydrants must be flushed for water quality purposes.
  • Des Moines Water Works has requested the City of Des Moines reduce irrigation at municipal golf courses and other turf lawns throughout the city, where possible.

What Can a Homeowner Do?

  • Voluntarily suspend lawn irrigation.
  • If you must water, you are encouraged to do so no more than every other day and between the hours of 8:00 pm, and 6:00 am. Also check to make sure all sprinkler heads are working correctly and pointing in the correct direction.
  • You may continue watering flowers and vegetable gardens.
  • Don’t leave water running if you wash a car at home.
  • Don’t use water to hose down sidewalks and driveways, use a broom instead.
  • Don’t leave water running when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Consider taking shorter showers.

These wise water use measures make good sense to do year-round, but the primary factor that will lower water demand is reduced lawn irrigation.

What Can Businesses Do?

  • Voluntarily suspend lawn and turf irrigation.
  • If you must water, you are encouraged to do so no more than every other day and between the hours of 8:00 pm, and 6:00 am. Also check to make sure all sprinkler heads are working correctly and pointing in the correct direction.
  • You may continue to water flower and vegetable gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Why did Des Moines Water Works and Des Moines area suburbs initiate stage 1 of the water conservation plan?
Lower demand increases water tank levels, which help customers see an increase in water pressure and also ensures a sufficient supply of water for fire protection.

Q:   How long will stage 1 last?
Due to low river levels and water quality issues in the rivers, stage 1 water conservation practices are requested until the weather pattern changes.

Q:  Is compliance mandatory?
No. Conservation is strongly encouraged but only voluntary at this time.

Q:   Will I be fined if I water my lawn?
No. Not in stage 1.

Q:   Has Des Moines Water Works implemented water conservation practices before?
Likely during the drought of 1977; that was the last drought year in which there was a severe shortage of water in the Raccoon River.  That was Des Moines Water Works only source water plus the infiltration gallery along the Raccoon River to supply water to the Fleur Drive water treatment plant.  Des Moines Water Works only had one treatment plant at that time and it was also when there were not near the amount of in-ground sprinkler systems that exist today.

Q:   Does Des Moines Water expect to move to stage 2? What does stage 2 entail?
Des Moines Water Works does not foresee moving beyond Stage 1 prior to September 1, unless river flow and weather patterns persist, such that historic low river flows are reached.  Stage 2 still implements voluntary conservation measures to achieve a 30% water reduction but asks in addition to Stage 1, that public agencies look to suspend decorative fountains and close any recreational facility that is known water waster like a leaking swimming pool.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 5 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers

5 Responses to “Reducing Water Consumption by 10 Percent”

  1. August 07, 2012 at 9:05 am, Robert Wheeler said:

    Des Moines Water Works has suspended fire hydrant flushing program. In the case of water main breaks/repairs, fire hydrants must be flushed for water quality purposes.
    Des Moines Water Works has requested the City of Des Moines reduce irrigation at municipal golf courses and other turf lawns throughout the city, where possible.

    How about capturing the water flushed from the above mentioned lines to water the various flower and lawn displays around town? Just a suggestion for filling the plastic tanks on the trucks that go around doing that. Would be a good spin on the news too.

    Reply

    • August 07, 2012 at 9:09 am, Laura Sarcone said:

      Robert,

      Excellent suggestion! Thanks for the comment and support of the conservation effort.

      Thanks,
      Laura Sarcone
      Des Moines Water Works

      Reply

  2. August 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm, Brown is the New Green | Des Moines Water Works said:

    […] is the New Green Recent requests from Des Moines Water Works and metro suburbs asking residential and business customers to eliminate […]

    Reply

  3. August 22, 2012 at 8:02 am, Stage 1 Water Conservation Update | Des Moines Water Works said:

    […] information on the Stage 1 Water Conservation Plan, as well as daily water pumpage updates, visit  http://www.dsmh2o.com/reducing-water-consumption-by-10-percent. Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, […]

    Reply

  4. August 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm, Mary Johnson said:

    Yes, it’s a good idea to recycle that hydrant flushing water that’s a good idea to keep us safe from fires and not just run that water down the storm sewer.

    Reply

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