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Minnesota DNR says its time to conserve water

Minnesota DNR says its time to conserve water

Lots of hot weather and a continuing drought has the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urging Minnesotans to conserve water.

"Periods of drought are a regular part of the Minnesota climate," said Kent Lokkesmoe, director, DNR Division of Waters. "The duration of a drought cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty."

He added that conserving water will minimize impacts on surface water and ground water.

"Wise and efficient use of water is everyone's responsibility," Lokkesmoe said. "Summer peak demand for water averages 2.6 times the winter demand in the Twin Cities and may be as much as four times greater in some communities. As a result, individuals and their communities should implement water conservation practices during this drought."

Lokkesmoe noted that conservation is especially important in St. Cloud, Minneapolis and St. Paul, which obtain most or all of their water from the Mississippi River.

He noted that river levels have been falling steadily and are very low for this time of year.

Lokkesmoe says that by following a few rules state residents can reduce the amount of water they use.

For landscaping he suggests that watering should be done early in the morning, cut grass cut grass to three inches or higher, do not fertilize in hot weather, apply water slowly so that it can soak into the ground -- water thoroughly once a week or less based on rainfall measured in rain gauge.

He also says that residents should plant native plants which have adapted to local conditions and need less watering.

Around the house he says never keep water running while brushing teeth or soaping up; wet toothbrush, turn off the faucet, brush and rinse briefly.

Instead of using a running hose for washing cars or outdoor furniture Lokkesmoe says use buckets of water.

Also, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from the tap for a drink, fix plumbing leaks promptly, use water-saving appliances and bathroom fixtures.

Even in communities that have deep wells to supply water for their customers, conservation will be necessary to maintain the needed pressure for fire protection.

Municipal water systems that depend on ground water may have enough supply but may not have pump capacity to keep up with demand if many residents water their lawns or uses tapwater at once.

Most communities will institute outdoor water use bans or restrictions.

"It is important residents honor these water-use restrictions." Lokkesmoe said. "Conservation measures by individuals and communities are vital while this drought continues."

Residents are advised to listen to media reports for community conservation measures or refer to their community's Web site, if available.