Moses Lake water rationing successful; use rates on the decline

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MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake’s newly instituted water rationing schedule has already paid off as city-wide water use is on the decline.

On Monday the city announced a city-wide water rationing schedule, which prohibited irrigating and the washing of vehicles. Addresses with odd numbers are permitted to irrigate and wash vehicles on odd-numbered days and addresses with even numbers are permitted to irrigate and wash vehicles on even-numbered days.

In addition, any property that has an irrigation meter that is 2 inches or bigger was restricted to irrigating from midnight to 8 a.m., or on a schedule approved by the municipal services director. The water rationing was imposed after city officials discovered the demand on the city’s water system was higher than the system’s production capabilities. Of the 19 wells in the city, 16 are currently online and three are offline due to maintenance issues.

“Of the 16 that are left, one has actually pumped so hard over the last week and a half that it’s actually starting to pump air,” Municipal Services Director Fred Snoderly explained during Tuesday night’s council meeting. “So that just compounds our problems a little bit more. We are picking up low level alarms in a couple of our reservoirs.”

Snoderly said the equipment being down is certainly a contributing factor to the levels, but he believes the early onset of high temperatures played a big role when city residents attempted to get ahead of the curve and keep their lawns healthy and green.

The idea behind the rationing is to give the reservoirs some down time and allow them to recover and fill back up to appropriate levels. On July 10, when the rationing was put into place, the city’s water division measured Moses Lake’s daily water usage at 16.8 million gallons of water. Within 24 hours that number dropped to about 14.9 million gallons of water, according to the city.

City residents are not the only ones to have felt the water restrictions, as the city itself has had to cut back on its water usage as well.

“We have cut our irrigation schedule back 70 percent. So we are currently running at 30 percent of what we normally run,” Parks and Recreation Director Spencer Grigg explained. “We have several parks that are serviced by lake water. Wherever it’s available and we can get the right permitting we do pump, but that’s not the majority of our parks.”

The rationing schedule will be in effect until further notice from the city.

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