MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (WCCO) — As you can imagine, a lot of us are using more water on a daily basis right now, from watering our crispy lawns to filling up kiddie pools to beat the humidity.
We visited Saint Paul Regional Water Services in Maplewood to see how local systems are holding up.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: 75% Of The State Is Now Experiencing Drought
On an average day, people in the east metro use 38 million gallons of water that’s softened, filtered and clarified at the Saint Paul Regional Water Services facility.
Right now, it’s nearly double that.
“Just recreation, sprinklers are running, last year was a COVID year with a lot of pools closed so just a lot more outdoor activity generally,” said General Manager Patrick Shea.
Roughly 65 million gallons per day are going out to its 450,000 customers in the area.
“Usually in the summer under normal conditions we’ll be in the 45 to 50 million gallons a day,” said Shea. “It’s not quite as dry as it was in 2012, it’s just hitting us earlier in the year.”READ MORE: Drought Conditions, Low Water Levels Leading To Costly Repairs For Boaters
The water that is treated at SPRWS comes from three sources: The Mississippi, surface water from a regional watershed and a backup system of wells.
While there’s much less water flowing through the Fridley facility from the Mississippi right now, it’s not dry enough to impact supply.
And Shea said even if customers used double what they’re using now the system, which has been in place for more than a hundred years, is equipped to handle it.
“The plant was designed to treat 120 million gallons a day and again we’re at 60-65 million gallons,” said Shea.
And modern appliances paired with awareness are curbing our thirst too.
“Historically, the number for the United States was about 100 gallons per person. We’re at about 45 gallons a day per person here in St. Paul,” said Shea.MORE NEWS: Consistent Heat, Drought Leads To Algae Overgrowth & Low Water Levels In Minnesota Lakes
A few things to keep in mind for conserving water:
- Water your lawn early, or after sundown, and avoid doing it on windy days.
- Move plants into the shade during the hottest parts of the day.
- Consider a water sensor so you know when your lawn has had enough to drink.