CUT BACK: New Water Source, Higher Demand

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After a spring soaking, the rain has vanished.

Meteorologist Ed Wilson says when it comes to July precipitation, we're way behind, “From July 1st to this period, we should have 2.3 inches of rain. We’ve only had 0.06 inches,” said Wilson.

Since the water isn't coming out of the sky, people are turning to their sprinklers and hoses to keep their lawns and plants healthy.

"We're watering probably twice a week,” said Monty Lovell, an Earl May customer.

Des Moines Water Works officials wish everyone would water just twice a week, but they'll settle for every other day.

Bill Stowe, the CEO of Des Moines Water Works says customers have to do something to cut back, or else there's a real danger that people will start using more water than the plant can clean.

"We can currently treat about 75 million gallons. We're going to see our demand today in the low 70's,” said Stowe.

If the demand for water outweighs how much can be treated, Stowe says the city may not be able to comply with federal guidelines for safe levels of nitrates.

The chemicals pose health risks, especially to newborn children.

"We don't want to be there. Once we're there, we have to send notice to everyone raising their concern when not everyone is at risk,” Stowe told Channel 13 News.

So, just when you want to pour it on, Stowe is asking you to turn it off.

Gary Turner, a manager at Earl May in West Des Moines says watering every other day should be plenty to keep to your lawn healthy.

"A lawn can survive on one inch of water a week whether you alternate in two or three day increments or you alternate the days,” said Turner.

Turner also recommends not mowing too short to keep dry patches shaded and to water only in the morning or at night.

Stowe hopes people take that advice.

"We really need people to be careful about how they use water in their homes,” said Stowe.


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