DMWW Asks Customers to Use Lawn Watering Schedule

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) and its partner metro communities are asking residential and commercial customers to practice wise water use and follow a lawn watering schedule due to continued high nitrate concentrations.

Des Moines Water Works began operating its nitrate removal facility on June 7 in order for its finished drinking water to meet Safe Drinking Water Standards. Nitrate concentrations in raw source water, including the rivers and shallow alluvial groundwater DMWW relies upon as drinking water sources, elevated in early June.

“We want to continue to be able to provide enough safe drinking water for our customers,” said Ted Corrigan, the CEO/General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. “While water quantities in the rivers are plentiful, elevated nitrate levels make it a challenge to meet customer demands. We need customers’ assistance so the safe water we produce is available for consumption, not going onto lawns."

Customer demand today is projected at 80 million gallons per day (MGD). A large amount of that usage is for lawn watering and the use of lawn sprinkler systems. Although central Iowa communities have collectively made significant financial investments in treatment plants, pumps, piping and storage to meet the water needs of residential, business and industry customers, nitrate concentrations – largely attributed to upstream land-use practices in which excess nutrients leave the soil and enter Iowa’s rivers, lakes and streams – require extensive treatment by DMWW.

It can cost up to $10,000 a day to operate the nitrate removal facility. To meet customer demand and drinking water standards, DMWW blends water sources to help reduce nitrate levels with water from Maffitt Reservoir, Crystal Lake and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells – all of which are designed to be emergency water sources. 

Customers are asked to follow the lawn watering schedule: 

  • Residential and commercial users are asked to use water wisely, practice responsible outdoor water use and voluntarily set irrigation systems to follow a schedule. This recommended schedule applies to all spray irrigation systems for businesses and homes. 
  • Watering is not recommended on Mondays or during the hottest part of the day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Even numbered addresses are asked to water on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays; odd numbered addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Water use recommendations and water quality conditions can change rapidly. Follow Des Moines Water Works on Facebook and LinkedIn: Des Moines Water Works, or Instagram or Twitter: @dsmh2o for the most up-to-date information. 


Contact: Jennifer Terry, (515) 283-8706