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Sioux Falls Expecting More Water Restrictions

July 20, 2012, 5:15 PM by Hailey Higgins

Sioux Falls Expecting More Water Restrictions

If you haven't cut back on watering your lawn already, in a couple weeks you may no longer have a choice.

Water from the Big Sioux River is dropping to levels that will likely trigger strict water restrictions across Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls Water Superintendent Greg Anderson keeps a close eye on the water levels at the water purification plant. He says if current trends continue, the river will drop below 50 cubic feet per second by the end of the month.

Once that happens, the city will enact stage two water restrictions, forcing homeowners to limit lawn watering to once a week.

"So that will slow things up and keep the existing supply sustainable for a longer period of time," Anderson said.

Since the end of June, around 45 percent of the water flowing downstream can keep up with the demand. And a recent expansion of five filters to the plant is helping to keep up with demand, but Anderson admits the drought and heat are tough to deal with.

"Energy costs are up, chemical costs are up. We're pushing the equipment harder than we've had for several years," Anderson said.

For the last three weeks, residents use an average of 42 million gallons a water a day. And if that usage continues, Anderson says it's only a matter of days before the city enacts the water restrictions.

In advance of the stage two watering restrictions, Mayor Mike Huether asked city departments to reduce water usage by implementing once-a-week watering on most city properties.

But, athletic facilities will remain on the current watering schedule.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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