Minnesota is now in a “drought warning” phase, with 52 percent of the state in “severe drought” and four percent rated “extreme.”
The DNR is notifying those with water-use permits that they should follow conservation measures such as reducing landscape irrigation, using more efficient equipment and repairing leaks.
Public water suppliers are being told that it’s now time to implement water use reduction measures.
Bemidji’s municipal system has been using water restrictions since early June, but City Engineer Craig Gray said that those restrictions have only reduced water consumption by .2 million gallons per day.
Gray said in a memo that the state’s drought management plan requires a city of Bemidji’s size to reduce water use to 50 percent above January use, which would be about 1.7 million gallons per day.
In June, the city used about 2.1 million gallons per day.
Further restrictions the Bemidji City Council will consider are:
1. Banning non-essential water use, such as:
- Irrigation and lawn watering;
- Car washing;
- Pool filling and any recreation use;
- Golf courses, parks, athletic fields, and recreation areas;
- Power washing;
2. Exemptions would include:
- Projects, buildings, and developments that are required to have vegetation established by the City’s Erosion Control Ordinance and/or other permitting requirements; and
- Hand watering of flower pots/baskets and vegetable gardens are permitted.