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Posted on: July 21, 2022

Spearfish moves to Code Green (enhanced voluntary water conservation) status

Watering hose nozzle

Residents reminded to be mindful of everyday water usage every season

SPEARFISH, SD – The City of Spearfish Water Conservation Program was updated to include Code Green (enhanced voluntary conservation), adding a step between Code Blue (the normal operating status of the City/voluntary water conservation) and Code Yellow (mandatory conservation), and the City moved to Code Green status Friday, July 22.

“As stewards of this resource, we must all be mindful of how we use water, and how much we use it year-round,” Public Works Director Kyle Hinton said, describing the water conservation program is meant to highlight the need for good stewardship year-round. “We also wanted to create a method to indicate to our community when we are seeing challenges regarding water supply to be aware of. In this case, the Young Well being down for repairs is an instance of stress on our water supplies that warrants an enhanced need for voluntary conservation efforts.”

The City closed the splash pad at Heritage Park in an effort to reduce water usage while the well is offline.

The City is now moving to Code Green status, which encourages residents to more stringently practice water conservation in the everyday use of their water. Under this status, conservations are still voluntary but are encouraged more than normal due to water production and usage. Currently, the Young Well being down for repairs is driving the need for enhanced conservation efforts. Encouraged practices include every-other-day, at most, lawn watering schedules and only watering during the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. 

Spearfish City Ordinance prohibits lawn watering between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Water conservation alert status indicators will be used to inform residents of the water restriction level currently observed within the City. Factors used to establish the status include: current water production level as compared to historic production levels; if it can continue production at that level; if it has exceeded its water rights; any equipment issues causing decreased well production; the amount of water located in storage tanks during peak usage; the length of time the high usage is expected to continue; and what would happen to production if any of the wells were to go offline. Another factor considered is the U.S. Drought monitor as published by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

The water conservation program is under the direction of the Spearfish City Council, and the intent of the program is “to gain compliance through education and public interaction, emphasizing good stewardship of water resources and how it can directly save customers money on their utility bill.” 

Should there be a change in water conservation alert status, the City would post this notice in City buildings, its website and social media, and also distribute the information to the local media and through utility bill messages/special billing inserts, door hangers, and other communication strategies as may arise.

The alert status indicators include:

- Code Blue, default voluntary conservation status - This is the normal (default) status of the City unless a more restrictive alert is declared. Code Blue status encourages residents to practice water conservation in the everyday use of their water. Under this status, there are no particular impacts to the water system, and the municipal water system is operating normally or with minimal disruptions to operations. Encouraged practices include every-other-day, at most, lawn watering schedules and only watering during the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Spearfish City Ordinance prohibits lawn watering between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

- Code Green, enhanced voluntary conservation alert - As with Code Blue, customers are asked to limit outside watering to no more than every other day and to only water during the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Under this status, customers should increase efforts to conserve by following water conservation practices indoors and more strictly limiting outdoor water us. The Water/Wastewater Utilities Superintendent, with the consent of the City Administrator, can move the status to Code Green, and the City Council will be notified at their next meeting should the City move to this status.

- Code Yellow, mandatory conservation alert – Under this status, residents may only water their lawns once a week and are encouraged to severely limit other outdoor water use and minimize indoor water use. (Newly installed grass lawns are exempt under this status for two weeks following their installation.) The Water/Wastewater Utilities Superintendent, with the consent of the City Administrator and Public Works Director, can move the status to Code Yellow, and the City Council will be notified at their next meeting should the City move to this status.

- Code Orange, rationing conservation alert – Residents are encouraged to minimize indoor water use and are required to limit outdoor water use. Under this alert, outdoor watering is limited to vegetable gardens only, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., and only with watering cans/buckets or handheld hoses with a nozzle shutoff. (Newly installed grass lawns are exempt under this status for two weeks following their installation.) The use of water in decorative fountains is prohibited, as well as the washing of vehicles from residential water spigots (unless the cleaning is necessary to preserve the proper function/safe operation of the vehicle). The washing of paved surfaces is also prohibited. A move to this indicator requires a resolution by the City Council.

- Code Red, critical water conservation alert – During this status indicator, municipal water may only be used for health and safety needs. Residents are strongly encouraged to minimize indoor water use and are prohibited from all outdoor water use. This alert will be implemented in emergency situations, such as significant damage to infrastructure, severe wildfire/structure fire in the area, prolonged power outages, or other catastrophic events. The intent of this status alert is to be declared for a limited amount of time until the water supply system can be stabilized. This indicator may be declared by the Water/Wastewater Superintendent, with the consent of the City Administrator and Public Works Director, for up to 72 hours, after which a resolution by the City Council would be required.

Sprinklers on City property conform with the water conservation program requirements, and the City Park and Rose Hill Cemetery are irrigated by water from Spearfish Creek. Residents using irrigation ditches for landscape water would not fall under the outdoor watering restrictions. 

“We thank everyone for their cooperation in this program,” City Administrator Steve McFarland said. “Spearfish is a vibrant community, and we all have an impact on its future, which includes resources like our water system.”

For more information about the City’s water conservation program, status indicators, and tips to increase water conservation around your home, visit cityofspearfish.com/423/Water.

sprinkler

Photo caption: The City is now at Code Green status, which encourages residents to more stringently practice water conservation in the everyday use of their water. Under this status, conservations are still voluntary but are encouraged more than normal due to water production and usage.  Encouraged practices include every-other-day, at most, lawn watering schedules and only watering during the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Spearfish City Ordinance prohibits lawn watering between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Courtesy image

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