Dry Northwest summers can mean water restrictions. Here’s what you can do
Ferndale water customers are facing limits on watering their lawns for the rest of the summer after the City Council approved mandatory conservation measures Monday evening.
Limits lasting through the end of October were required for the city’s 5,000 customers because recent voluntary limits failed to save water, said city spokesman Riley Sweeney.
Ferndale used to draw its water from the Nooksack River but in 2011 began drawing from wells, Sweeney said.
A limited amount of water can be pumped daily, and Sweeney said the city’s water use is so high that officials fear that a large fire would deplete the water on hand temporarily, he said.
Outdoor watering and irrigation will be allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for those with even-numbered street addresses and on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays for customers with odd-numbered addresses.
No outdoor watering or irrigation is allowed on Mondays.
In addition, no watering is allowed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
Exceptions include outdoor potted plants and hanging baskets, lawns planted within 6 months, vegetable gardens, and drip irrigation systems.
Water conservation measures that take effect immediately but don’t affect car-washing, as long as cars are washed on a lawn and soap doesn’t go into storm drains.
Penalties are $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $250 for the third offense. Water will be shut off for a third offense.
City officials will be working with industrial users, commercial customers and landscaping companies to assure compliance.
Officials said the city will waive penalties for about a week to allow customers to adjust to the new limits.
In Bellingham, Lynden and other cities in Whatcom County, similar — but voluntary — conservation measures are in place through Sept. 15.
Outdoor watering often doubles daily average demand from 10 to 20 million gallons per day, according to information at the city of Bellingham website.
Outdoor use accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of the summer increase, and nearly half of that water is wasted through evaporation, over-watering and runoff, the city said.