Residents of 11 cities in the east Twin Cities metro are now under new watering restrictions due to the ongoing drought.
St. Paul Regional Water Services announced the updated rules Tuesday, which include odd/even watering days and strict watering times. And those who repeatedly violate these new restrictions will face a fine. The service had previously just been asking customers to limit their outdoor water usage.
All St. Paul Regional Water Services customers are affected. That includes everyone in these cities:
- St. Paul
- Arden Hills
- Falcon Heights
- Little Canada
- Mendota Heights
- West St. Paul
What do the restrictions entail?
These customers must follow an odd/even watering schedule — so those with an odd-numbered address on odd-numbered days, and the same for evens. In addition, outdoor watering cannot happen between noon and 6 p.m. It must take place outside that window.
Enforcement will start Aug. 20, with the first two violations netting an educational notice and a warning, respectively. After that, it's a $50 fine for a third violation, $100 for a fourth, and $150 plus a water shut-off for each violation from then on.
That's it for now, and there are exceptions, including commercial uses such as for nurseries or community gardens; new sod that requires daily watering (though water services is urging people to hold off on planting new sod or seeds until conditions improve); and trees can be watered with a dropping hose, bucket or bag as needed.
Minnesota has been in a drought warning phase since July 16, with little improvement. A portion of the state recently fell into the "exceptional drought" category for the first time since readings began in 1999.
St. Paul Regional Water Services' new restrictions were triggered by water flow levels on the Mississippi River. Flow readings near Anoka have been at or below 1,500 cubic feet per second for five consecutive days now. Friday morning, discharge hovered around 1,00 cubic feet per second, according to data.