City of Cheney issues mandatory lawn watering restrictions


CHENEY, Wash. -Due to low water levels in the City of Cheney’s five reservoirs, the City is issuing mandatory outdoor watering restrictions.

Cheney Water Department staff have been monitoring levels in the city’s five reservoirs all summer.  The extended hot weather has caused irrigation demand to go up, and reservoir levels to go down.   

“The City of Cheney is currently experiencing low reservoir levels.  We need everyone to do their part to conserve our precious water now,” said Mayor Chris Grover.

Effective immediately and at least through the weekend, the City of Cheney is enacting a mandatory lawn watering shutdown for all green spaces.  The City’s water reservoirs have been reduced to critically low levels, 14 feet as of July 25.  The lawn watering shutdown is necessary to replenish the reservoirs and help protect fire flow requirements and the integrity of the system.  

When full, reservoirs are at 29 feet.  Here is a reservoir levels graphic to illustrate various water levels.

The wells are operating at capacity, and the city says they have no mechanical failures.  If everyone complies with the lawn watering shutdown through the weekend, the city may be able to allow restricted, limited lawn irrigation next week.  

Vegetable gardens and flowers may be watered, but not during the day, and residents are asked to use water wisely.  

This restriction does not affect Eastern Washington University and a few businesses that have a separate water system fed by their own wells.  Watering has already been eliminated at city parks and playfields connected to the water system, as well as Cheney School District properties.  However, Salnave and Sutton Parks and Moos Field are watered with nonpotable (nondrinkable) water from a dedicated well that does not impact reservoir levels.

The City is asking for everyone’s cooperation to help restore reservoir levels and sustain water resources, and provided the following conservation measures:

Watering of established lawns, trees, and shrubs.  We need your compliance by not watering established lawns and plantings at homes, businesses, apartments, and open spaces.  If you are considering planting a new lawn, please wait until cooler temperatures in the fall.  When reservoir levels recover sufficiently, an odd/even watering system will be in place, with reduced watering times.

Vegetable gardens and flowers may be watered.  Vegetable gardens and flowers are to be  watered only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.  If you have not already applied mulch to your garden, do so as soon as possible.  Use a soaker hose or drip lines instead of a sprinkler, or water by hand, so that water goes only to the plants that need it.

Don’t waste water outside.  Please don’t wash your car or clean your driveway with water.

Lawn height.  Let your grass grow longer by raising your lawn mower’s cutting height.  Longer blades of grass help shade each other, reducing evaporation.  Stop fertilizing; it only promotes new growth.  When you mow, leave grass clippings on the lawn to retain moisture.

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