Even though drought conditions throughout Iowa are improving, Des Moines Water Works is asking its residential and commercial customers to manage seasonal irrigation after recently finding historic nitrate concentrations in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers.
Des Moines Water Works is currently not pulling water from either river. It is relying on other water sources, such as Maffitt Reservoir, Crystal Lake and aquifer storage wells.
If the utility is not able to meet current demand, Des Moines Water Works will have to start taking water from the polluted rivers, and may be unable to remove nitrate in a way that keeps up with high water demand.
“Although drought conditions are no longer an immediate threat to Central Iowa, increased nitrate levels from agricultural run-off, coupled with high demand, puts Des Moines Water Works in a difficult position,” Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, said. “With the assistance of all metro customers using water wisely, Des Moines Water Works can effectively and efficiently use the available water supply to provide safe drinking water that does not violate nitrate standards.”
Some of the actions Water Works say commercial and residential customers can take to conserve water are:
- Avoid lawn watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. ad 5:00 p.m. Evaporation from the sun is highest during these hours and soil absorbs less water, meaning more water must be used to achieve the same effect when not watering between these hours.
- Shift watering to no more frequently than the odd numbered days of the week if your house ends with an odd number and even numbered days if your house ends with an even number. For example, if your house number is “1521,” you should water on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th.
- Test your irrigation system each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directed onto the turf and landscape.