Dry days prompt water worries

Cities keeping up with increased demand - so far

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The water supply is not about to run dry, but area cities are urging residents to conserve due to the recent dry spell, warm temperatures and no rain in sight.

City officials say their water supplies are keeping pace with demand, thanks in part to residents doing their part by not watering during the heat of the day.

Matt Isch, Post Falls chief water operator, said residents used as high as 79 percent of the city's water capacity in recent weeks. But the normal has been in the 60s.

Isch said Post Falls has staved off critical times due to its law of no watering from noon to 6 p.m.

"Prior to our water conservation plan, we'd see our wells running 24-7," he said. "Our big demand times are in the mornings, but, by the afternoon, our reservoirs are full and the wells are shut down.

"It makes a huge difference that we're doing that."

Isch said reminding residents about the no watering times is a "never-ending cycle," adding that residents have been cooperative when reminded about the law.

As with recent years, Post Falls also has a voluntary odd-even watering schedule. Residents with odd-numbered addresses are asked to water on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those with even-numbered addressed are asked to water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

"Sunday is the day to let the water system catch back up," said Terry Werner, public works director. "With the warm weather we've had, people need to conserve. The grass is turning brown, but it will turn green again this fall with the rainy season. Brown is not a bad color."

Coeur d'Alene and Rathdrum officials said their systems have also been fine, but urge conservation and to not over water lawns.

Climatologist Cliff Harris said there has only been .13 of an inch of rain since July 13, making it one of the driest mid-summers on record and only 25 percent of normal.

Even though cities aren't too concerned about a water shortage, there have been some obvious signs of increased usage.

On Sunday, Coeur d'Alene served 29 million gallons. Capacity is 37 million gallons per day. With the hotter weather recently, the average daily use is about 25 million gallons per day.

"We're not anticipating any particular problems," said Jim Markley, water superintendent.

Coeur d'Alene doesn't have water restrictions.

Water shutoff planned near Armstrong Park

COEUR d'ALENE - Water to nearly 40 customer accounts near Armstrong Park will be temporarily shut down Thursday.

The shutdown will be to fix a leaking pressure reducing valve at the park. Affected households have been notified, and the maximum time the water will be off that day is four hours, the city said, starting in the morning.

Information: 769-2210

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