With the Memorial Day holiday weekend ushering in the official start of the summer season, City officials are reminding homeowners it’s time to work water conservation measures into their lawn, tree and garden maintenance schedule.

Recent rain events notwithstanding, Rapid City’s annual mandatory water conservation measures go into effect this week.

Beginning Saturday, no watering is allowed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.  Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on odd-numbered calendar days.  Even-numbered addresses are allowed to water on even-numbered calendar days.  No outside watering is allowed on the 31st day of any month.

Manual watering with a handheld hose or with a bucket, sprinkling can or other similar container is allowed.

Since the 1990s, the City of Rapid City has instituted mandatory water conservation measures.  There are two purposes for this conservation effort. The first is to increase the efficiency of irrigation by restricting watering during the hottest periods of the day to minimize water loss from evaporation. The second is to level out demands from irrigation by rotating irrigation days.  This reduces the amount of infrastructure needed to support peak demands and ultimately keeps water rates lower.

Water conservation measures are utilized June 1-August 31 each year under normal status conditions.  Status conditions include normal, concern, alert and critical stages and are determined by the water levels and inflows to Pactola Reservoir.

“Water conservation measures, commonly referred to as water restrictions, have been part of the City’s water plan since the 1990s,” said Rapid City Water Superintendent Eric Boyda.  “Water conservation has greatly impacted the community’s daily use of water. Maintaining conservation measures and keeping residents educated about the importance of water conservation practices is extremely important.”

“Conditions can change from one year to the next and they can change within a short time during a particular season of the year.  It’s important we maintain conservation measures every year.”

The impact of water conservation measures is reflected in the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City. In the 1990s, prior to implementation of annual water conservation measures, the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City was 168 gallons. Today, that average has dipped considerably to around 132 gallons. A ‘Please Use Water Wisely’ pyramid of 168 water jugs, reflecting the daily use of water per person in the 1990s, is on display at the Mountain View Water Treatment Plant.

For more information or questions about the City’s water restrictions, contact the Rapid City Water Office at 394-4162.