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SF Easing Residents Into Water Restrictions

September 4, 2012, 4:58 PM by David Brown

SF Easing Residents Into Water Restrictions
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The severe drought that's plagued KELOLAND all summer long continues into the fall. And Sioux Falls homeowners are still adjusting to new water restrictions.

It's been about a week since the regulations went into place. For the time being, residents are only allowed to water once per week. But the city is trying to ease homeowners into a pattern that could last a while.

On August 29, the city implemented what's known as a Stage 2 Water Restriction. Officials made the decision based on the low flow coming out of the Big Sioux River, which is less than 50 cubic feet per second.  And while it may take some adjusting, the city is being patient with homeowners who have to balance the new rules with some old and dry grass.

On another sunny day in Sioux Falls, some lawns around town are in better shape than others. But no matter if it's green or brown, it's clear word of the once per week restrictions will take time to spread.

"It's taking a while for people to adjust, so we're asking our customers to actually go out and remind their neighbors that the water restrictions have changed to one day per week and to remind them what day is theirs," Trent Lubbers with Sioux Falls Public Works said.

On Tuesdays, only addresses that end in the number one are allowed to douse their yard. Duane Schellhouse is doing just that.

"I think if you put an inch of water on there, it'll make the lawn the way you want it," Schellhouse said.

Schellhouse says there hasn't been any frustration with the new restrictions, but he'd like some more flexibility.

David Brown: Do you wish you could water more?
Duane Schellhouse: I think so. In this heat, when the heat index gets close to 100 and everything.

For the most part, lawns around town received some help from overnight rain and the most hoses remain dry. But even for those who violate the rules, the city is going to ease up before issuing a fine.

"We would send out a letter or there would be a door hanger or phone call involved to remind them what the restrictions are," Lubbers said. "So, there would be plenty of notice before we'd get to that point."

As of Tuesday, the Big Sioux River at Dell Rapids is flowing at 43 cubic feet per second. The next possible water restriction would be a complete water ban, but that would only happen if the flow of the Big Sioux is below 20 cubic feet per second.

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