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Balancing the water use with recent hotter, drier summers is a critical challenge for Whitefish’s population today and for the future. Reducing the amount of water that is wasted is part of the City’s Climate Action Plan and an effective way to balance water demands with limited available water resources.
Currently, Whitefish’s water supply infrastructure is at a maximum capacity, and the summer water use is extremely high relative to the base/winter use. This puts severe stress on the City’s infrastructure and operations. Conservation practices and wasting less water will reduce the peak summer demand and costs of supplying water, as well as the life of the City’s water infrastructure. Using less water also reduces our impact on the environment and preserves resources for future generations who live, work and play in Whitefish.
Until further notice, Whitefish will remain in the General Conservation stage. Changes in stages will be triggered by excessive use, drought conditions and/or major infrastructure failures. Residents will be notified of changes in conservation stages by issuance of a proclamation by the Public Works Director through public service announcements, website and social media.
Positive shut-off nozzles are placed on the end of garden hoses and other water delivery systems to stop any waste of water prior to the user’s need. This piece of equipment will help you waste less water (and money).
Under all stages, watering of vegetable gardens during allocated times and dates are allowed. Where possible, utilize soaker hoses, timed watering systems, and mulch soils to retain moisture. Look for ways to waste less water and only water areas that require moisture.
Wasting less water is critical for the sustainability of Whitefish’s water infrastructure. It is also key to maintaining the City’s commitment to the approved Climate Action Plan. Key priorities of this plan include conserving water, protecting the City’s watersheds, and diversifying the City’s water supply resources. In order to meet these goals, the General Conservation stage will remain part of routine operation for the city.
Looking for ways to waste less water should be a standard operating procedure, but under General Conservation stage, you may operate as normal. If the City enters Stage I or Stage II restrictions and your business requires water for daily operation, contact the City of Whitefish to obtain a Commercial Outdoor Water Use Permit.
Stage I restrictions will revert to General Conservation restrictions if there are 10 consecutive days of water demand less than or equal to 3 million gallons per day (MGD) at the Water Treatment Plant.
Stage II restrictions step down to Stage I restrictions when critical infrastructure is repaired, or the U.S. Drought Monitor Index condition changes to severe or less for the identified area.
Drought conditions are monitored by reviewing the reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more information or to review reports, visit the U.S. Drought Monitor website.
The timing of watering is important. Cooler temperatures in the evening results in the best time to soak or drip irrigate; this gives the soil all night to absorb the water. Early morning is the best time for sprinklers because grass leaves can absorb water and not be wet and cold all night.
For more yard and garden tips review the Montana State University Extension Yard and Garden Water Management (PDF) document.
For more information view some Irrigation Runoff Prevention (PDF) tips.