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Posted on: April 21, 2022

Council Considers Water Conservation Changes

Hand holding hose spraying grass

The local raw water supply remains lower than usual, and Sioux Center remains in a Water Watch. The City Council is considering a change to Sioux Center’s water shortage conservation rules that may help people maintain lawns. The proposed change would add a stage that would limit lawn irrigation before prohibiting it entirely.

Currently, the city code sets out two stages for lawn irrigation when city water levels are low. The first stage is used in a Water Watch – it asks property owners to voluntarily limit watering twice a week, and only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. The second stage, which includes both Water Warning and Water Emergency, prohibits any irrigation of lawns.

With the change, the code would allow property owners to irrigate lawns with up to 1 inch of water once per week when the status is elevated from Water Watch to Water Warning. The day to irrigate would be determined by the last digit in the property’s address. For example, on Monday, any address ending in a 1 could irrigate. On Saturdays, any property with an address ending in 7 or 8 could irrigate. 

This updated Water Warning would also allow for watering of flower and vegetable gardens, trees and shrubs less than 4 years old. It would also allow for irrigating new seeding or sod started before the issuance of the Water Warning twice per week, with up to 1 inch per application.

"We feel it's important for customers to have options and the ability to make decisions about maintaining lawns," said Sioux Center Utilities Manager Murray Hulstein.

Only a Water Emergency would prohibit lawn irrigation and car washing, including at commercial car washes. A Water Emergency may be declared when a water shortage or equipment failure poses a severe and immediate threat to the ability of the water system to meet the needs of its customers.

Other changes included in the proposed code update include:

  • Setting the hours for Water Watch and Water Warning lawn irrigation from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. (adding two hours in the morning to the previous ordinance)
  • Prohibiting washing vehicles except at commercial car washes under a Water Warning 

The City Council approved the first reading of the water conservation plan ordinance earlier this month. The ordinance will be read at the April 25 council meeting, with the potential of one additional reading, before being adopted as city code. The proposed changes are online to review at www.siouxcenter.org/waterplan.

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