Posts Tagged ‘water conservation’

July 8, 2014

Using Water Wisely

Watering with garden hoseHot, dry weather is upon us. By far, the highest water use during hot, summer days is for lawn or turf irrigation. There are many sophisticated automated, in-ground lawn sprinkler systems in use today; however, these systems require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Even the most properly maintained system can be operated unwisely.

Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with other Des Moines metro area water utilities, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program. This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days. Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.). This watering approach reduces the peak load on water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life. In addition, it is important to remember:

  • Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
  • For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
  • When possible, avoid laying sod or grass seed during the month of July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months of the year. New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive. Beginning the last week in August and through the fall is the best time for laying sod and grass seed.
  • Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers August 29, 2012

Metro-wide Water Conservation Request Lifted

The Stage 1 Water Conservation request made by Des Moines Water Works and all metro area water utilities to voluntarily cease or reduce lawn irrigation will be canceled, effective September 1.

Customer water demand has tapered off in recent weeks as peak lawn irrigation season is past, and voluntary water conservation is no longer necessary; however, if low river flows and dry ground conditions persist into next spring and summer, the conservation plan will need to be reinitiated.

The water conservation request was issued in July due to the excessive temperatures and near historic low river levels. Des Moines Water Works customers set a record water usage of 96.6 million gallons on July 24, and the month of July was an all-time record month of 2.5 billion gallons of water.

“While the Stage 1 request calling for decreased lawn irrigation has been lifted for now, we encourage all Des Moines and suburb customers to continue observing wise water practices to be good stewards of nature’s most precious resource,” said Randy Beavers, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers August 22, 2012

Stage 1 Water Conservation Update

Metro area residential and business customers continue to support the Stage 1 Water Conservation request made by all of the Des Moines area water utilities to voluntarily cease or reduce lawn irrigation, after pumping a record 96.6 million gallons on July 24.

With cooler temperatures, customer water demand has dropped to somewhat lower levels than typical of late summer when turf irrigation is reduced; however, river levels remain at near historic low levels, with the outlook for the remaining late summer and fall months to be drier than normal.

The metro-wide Stage 1 Water Conservation Plan – which is voluntary and targeted at reduced turf irrigation – is still in effect, and will remain in effect through the end of August.  Watering of gardens, plants and other landscaping was not targeted in the Stage 1 conservation efforts and may continue through the fall.   Since Stage 1 is a voluntary effort, customers who have damaged turf and desire to restore it in September – which is an ideal time for reseeding – may irrigate the damaged/repaired sections of their lawn.

“The Des Moines area water utilities continue to emphasize the wise use of water both inside and outside the home and businesses.” said Randy Beavers, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. “Residential and business customers can do their part by not over-irrigating and maintaining properly working irrigation systems.”

For more 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: , , , , Posted in About Us, Conservation, Customers, Environment August 21, 2012

Successful Gardening in a Drought

As drought conditions continue, it is essential to monitor your trees, shrubs and plants to avoid losing them for good.  As a general rule, most plants require a minimum of one inch of rain a week to remain healthy.  This can be obtained by either rainfall or watering.  Watering should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day and evaporation.  Adhering to Des Moines Water Works stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is also requested that any watering be done every other day.

Trees, shrubs, and perennials should be watched for either curling leaves or flagging (yellowing of the leaves).  A periodic, heavy watering is more beneficial than a light, daily spraying on these plants.  A bucket of water with small holes in the bottom allows water to slowly release into the soil giving a more uniform watering. Using a two-inch thick layer of mulch around these plants will also help retain moisture levels in the soil and reduce water evaporation. Trees that have been in the ground for less than five years should have priority over older trees.

Vegetable, annual and container gardening dry out much faster than other plants and watering should be done in the morning or late evening. Vegetable crops will likely be smaller than normal due to the heat. They tend to use the energy from water and sunshine just to flower and stay alive and don’t have enough extra energy to produce the crop.

Most brown grass is considered dormant, not dead. Applying a fertilizer would not be recommended in these conditions. Fall aeration and over-seeding would be better money spent. Under DMWW stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is requested that residents and businesses in the Des Moines metro area cease or reduce lawn irrigation.  If you must irrigate (new sod), do so early morning or late evening, and every other day.

Posted by: Todd Monson No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers, Des Moines Botanical Center, Green Initiatives August 16, 2012

Brown is the New Green

Recent requests from Des Moines Water Works and metro suburbs asking residential and business customers to eliminate or reduce turf irrigation has presented the opportunity for customers to be “green” by allowing their grass to go brown.

Many environmentally conscious residential and commercial customers have made significant reductions in water use. For example, Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines has reduced its outdoor water usage by 50 percent.

“When residents are asked to help conserve water, we know Mercy needs to do its part,” said Roy Young, manager of Mercy Properties and Plant Operations. “Typically our lawn irrigation systems run at night for 20 minutes on the Mercy Central Campus, Mercy College and Mercy Park Apartments. We’ve cut that to 10 minutes, and in some cases less. In a drought situation every bit of conservation helps.”

Another environmentally conscious customer, Quick Trip Corporation, has completely shut off irrigation at 22 Des Moines area locations.

It makes good sense to be a wise water user all year long, not just in times of drought.  Residential and business customers can do their part by not over-irrigating and maintaining properly working irrigation systems.  Des Moines Water Works and metro area suburbs appreciate customers pulling together and making small sacrifices, primarily in reduced irrigation, to help ensure Des Moines Water Works can continue to deliver a quality and reliable water supply.

Posted by: John Lins No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers, Green Initiatives 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 July 24, 2012

Stage One Water Conservation Implemented for Des Moines Metro Communities

DES MOINES, Iowa (July 24, 2012) – Des Moines Water Works, with cooperation from metro suburbs, have implemented stage 1 of a water conservation plan.  The objective of stage 1 of the conservation plan is to reduce water usage by 10 percent. The primary focus in achieving reduced usage is in the amount of water being used to irrigate turf and lawns.  

Des Moines Water Works pumped a record 95.64 million gallons of water on Monday. The previous record of 92 million gallons was set in June 2006. In addition to record pumpage which is stressing some area water facilities with lower pressure, water quality of source waters is creating treatment issues. 

“We are asking resident and business customers throughout the metro area, including our suburban communities, to voluntarily cease irrigation and let their lawns go dormant,” said Randy Beavers, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.  “Municipal golf courses have been asked to reduce their irrigation water.”

If there is some compelling reason an owner cannot shut down their irrigation system, it is requested that they lower the volume of water used by reducing the amount of time the system runs, and do so on odd/even days. For example, if your address ends in 1, 3, 5, etc., lawn watering is acceptable on odd days of the month and vice-versa for even addresses.

Watering of gardens and flower beds may continue under the stage 1 of the conservation plan, but reduced levels are requested.

Other “wise water use” measures that make good sense in these hot dry times which are outlined in the plan are:

  • Wash dishes and laundry when you have full loads
  • 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
  • Consider taking shorter showers
  • Don’t leave water running when brushing your teeth or shaving

“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,” said Beavers.

There are some decorative lawn and turf areas around the metro area that are not addressed under stage 1, but just like golf courses, it is requested that those systems be operated and managed to reduce water use where possible.

Stage 1 will stay in effect until the weather pattern changes so that water demand drops below 80 million gallons of use daily. Further stages of the conservation plan will be considered if the drought persists such that a water shortage is forecast.  Further stages of the plan would call for a 30 percent usage reduction by residential customers and 10 percent by business and industry.

“We are asking for the public’s assistance in achieving this 10% voluntary reduction, which will help keep our water tanks full and water pressures elevated,” said Beavers.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 6 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers June 27, 2012

Use Water Wisely

Hot, dry weather is upon us.  Central Iowa and most parts of the State of Iowa are fortunate  to have sufficient sources of water to meet the needs of residential, business, industrial, and governmental customers during most years and the summer months. In addition, Des Moines Water Works has made significant financial investments in treatment plants, pumps, tanks, piping, and reservoir storage to meet customers’ potable water needs.

These assets can be most efficiently operated during the very hottest of summer days when our customers use water wisely.  Wise use of water is defined as being alert to and repairing leaking household appliances, taking advantage of technological advances to eliminate waste and avoiding irrigation use during the hottest part of the day.

Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with the metropolitan area water utilities and through the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission planning group, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program.

This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days.  Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 am through 5:00 pm).  This watering approach reduces the peak load on our water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life.

In addition, it is important to remember:

  • Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
  • Most soils in the Des Moines area can support a healthy turf, if watered no more frequently than every other day.  ISU Extension pamphlet PM 1063, found at their Web page: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1063.pdf, says “Kentucky Bluegrass will withstand drought by becoming dormant.  If irrigation is begun in a drought, continue to water during the drought period.  Apply water infrequently, but in sufficient amounts to wet the soil to six-inch depth.”  Turf grasses in clayey, silty soils found in most parts of the metro area may require up to one inch to one-half inches of water per week.  These soils typically cannot absorb this much water during one irrigation cycle.  Adjust your sprinkler time so you are applying from one-fourth inch to one-half inch of water during each irrigation day or cycle.
  • For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
  • When possible, avoid laying sod during July and the first three weeks of August.  These typically are the hottest months and weeks of the year.  New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive.  Beginning the last week in August and through the fall is the best time for laying sod. Grass seed is also best used during this late summer, fall time period.
  • Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional, or ISU Extension horticulturalist for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.  Also, visit Des Moines Water Works website for other water saving tips.

Let’s all use our precious water wisely!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Conservation, Education, Environment, Green Initiatives March 6, 2012

Avoid High Water Bill Surprises

Des Moines Water Works listened to customer suggestions for more functionality to online customer account information. A new customer account feature now available at www.dmww.com is consumption alerts. Don’t be surprised by a high water bill anymore. Customers now have the ability to set a daily consumption threshold. If your daily consumption exceeds that on any given day, an automated alert will be sent to an e-mail account you provide.

To set up a new consumption alert:

  • Log in to your Des Moines Water Works account at www.dmww.com
  • Select the Account Services tab and then select Consumption Alerts
  • Select the meter you would like to be alerted
  • Check to select either Gallons or Cubic Feet (DMWW bills in cubic feet, but many people find it more natural to think in terms of gallons)
  • After reviewing your last bill statement and the average daily recommendations listed as a guide, enter in your daily consumption threshold and click Save
  • The new consumption alert will be listed below
  • Changes to the alert can be made at any time by deleting your existing alert and creating a new one.

We encourage customers to save money and save water by taking advantage of the consumption alert feature now available. Too many times, customers don’t notice a leaking toilet until they open their water bill and find that it has doubled or even tripled its normal amount. The new alert feature allows customers to be notified as the leak is occurring and promptly correct it, avoiding wasted water and the surprise of a large bill.

If you have questions about setting up a consumption alert, contact Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700.

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers July 13, 2011

Thinking About Installing an Irrigation System?

A commonly asked question of Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representatives concerns lawn sprinkler and irrigation systems. Before you install a built-in irrigation system or do any watering in your yard, you should keep the following information in mind.

• Des Moines Water Works and your community’s permits department have a specific process for obtaining an irrigation meter.

• The installation cost of an irrigation meter can cost $300-$500 or more, as a licensed plumber must connect lawn irrigation piping and house hose bibs to this special meter.

• In Des Moines, Des Moines Water Works uses the monthly readings from the irrigation meter to subtract the usage from the sewer service portion of your monthly statement.

• Built-in lawn irrigation systems require the installation of a backflow device. All area irrigation system installers are aware of this requirement. These backflow devices must be tested annually by a certified tester. This is a requirement of the state Public Health Department and city ordinances. There are many certified testers in the Des Moines metro area. (Look in your phone book under the categories of backflow prevention devices, plumbing contractors or garden and lawn, for a listing of companies that install irrigation systems. Many specifically state they have certified backflow testers.)

• Another helpful resource is located at: http://www.dmww.com/SubPageHTML.aspx?SubPageID=11 Here, you will find a listing of certified backflow testers in the state. If you are interested in obtaining an irrigation meter, you must first obtain a permit for the irrigation meter and any required backflow prevention devices. A licensed plumber must install a meter compatible with Des Moines Water Works equipment.

Irrigation systems do a great job of keeping your lawn and garden green and beautiful. These systems require regular maintenance and adjustment to insure the right amount of water is used when it is needed. Timing your lawn watering will also help you use water wisely. Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with other metropolitan area water utilities, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program. This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days. Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) and spreading out water use over several days through ODD – EVEN day watering before 10:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. This watering approach reduces the peak load on our water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life.

Also, if you are considering laying sod this year, the latter half of the month of August and September are the best months to do so. Avoiding the hot days of July and early August will save you watering costs.

Let’s all use our precious water wisely!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation