More Minnesota cities are asking residents to stop watering their lawns amid the extreme heat.
This comes as cities have reported an increase in water usage since last week, when temperatures spiked into the 90s and even above 100 degrees and haven't cooled down much, at least in the southern half of the state.
Because water levels are getting low and could hinder their ability to fight fires in an emergency, residents are asked to conserve their water usage.
The City of Minnetrista declared a water emergency, issuing an outdoor water ban Tuesday until further notice for all outdoor, non-essential water use and asked residents to do what they can to reduce the amount of water they're using indoors, too.
In the days since, several other cities have declared such bans as much of the state is experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.
The City of Carver's emergency watering ban includes watering lawns, gardens, washing vehicles, filling pools, recreational uses of water and other outdoor household uses. However, those who have newly planted grass seed or sod can apply for a special watering permit through the city to continue to water.
Sartell's ban is similar, and it notes that it'll be closing the city's Splash Pad until further notice to conserve water (the Celebration pool won't be impacted).
Sauk Rapids is also closing its splash pad and wading pool "until further notice" due to the watering ban.
And the City of Delano on Wednesday asked people to conserve water and electricity, noting Delano Municipal Utilities has pumped more than 1 million gallons of water daily for the past six days.
That's double the amount of water the city pumps per day. (According to the city's website, the daily average is about 500,000 gallons per day, with a current peak of 1.5 million gallons per day.)
Delano has also seen electric usage peak at 17.6 megawatts, compared to last year's peak of 14.2 megawatts.
Many larger cities, like Eden Prairie, Plymouth and Burnsville, have year-round and summer watering restrictions, respectively, for watering lawns, usually based on address numbers (if addresses end in odd number, you can water on odd-numbered days; if it ends in an even number, you can water on even-numbered days). The cities with these types of bans also typically ban lawn irrigation (watering) during the middle of the day, which is typically the hottest part of the day.
The City of Eden Prairie is reminding residents of these rules (residents could be fined if they violate the ordinance), noting since the start of the heat wave, it has seen water consumption spike. The water restrictions helps ensure there's enough water for everyone, including vital services like fighting fires.
In some cities, there are exemptions to the watering bans. Among them: using water for children's water toys; if you have a private well; if you're watering flower beds and new plantings; and if you have new sod (in some cases you'll need a special permit).
Before you plan to water outdoors, be sure to check with your city to make sure there isn't a ban.
And if you want to help protect your lawn, it's best to keep it longer during the heat wave — that'll help prevent it from burning and/or turning brown.