City Of Sioux Falls Sees Increase In Water Usage As Dry Weather Continues

It’s been eleven days since most of Sioux Falls has seen any rain, causing residents to use a lot more water. While the city isn’t in any danger of having to restrict water usage, some residents are paying a pretty penny to keep their lawns green.

“Water is one of our greatest, most precious resources,” said City of Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter.

It’s something people tend to forget come summer.

Cotter said, “People will adjust their irrigation schedules on the amount of rain we do get or don’t get, so right now it’s very dry and we’re seeing our customer demand go up.”

Right now, citywide demand for water is 37.5 million gallons per day; more than twice the demand during the winter months, which is around 15 to 18 million gallons per day. The city has to take water from several different resources, including the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System to keep up.

“If the weather stays like it is, we’ll likely be at about this level until the first of September,” said Cotter.

In an effort to conserve water, the city only allows residents to water lawns before noon and after 5 p.m. Even numbered addresses can water on even numbered calendar dates, and odd numbers on odd dates. City officials say the circumstances would have to be severe for the city to place any more restrictions on residents.

Cotter said, “We’re in very good shape, the plant is doing well, the plant team is doing well. We’re fortunate enough to be connected to the Lewis & Clark (Regional Water System) , but we still want people to conserve.”

Nearly 99 percent of Sioux Falls residents use under 50 units (CCF) or 38,000 gallons of water per month. Anymore and your bill will increase by nearly 50 percent. If you aren’t careful, it could more than double.

“In a four tiered system, if I get into stage 3 and 4, it’s gets very expensive and we want them to be thinking methodologies to conserve water, not to use more,” Cotter said.

City officials say they look at water usage twice a week, and will contact you if your usage spikes dramatically. They also urge residents to take advantage of the city’s conservation incentive program, which helps pay for more efficient household items, such as toilets. Over the last 13 years, it has saved the city more than 3 million gallons of water per day or around 1.1 billion gallons a year.

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