(Originally published on July 17)By Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Department of Natural Resources officials say Minnesota has now reached the warning phase under the statewide drought plan. As the state grows drier, the city of Minneapolis is urging residents to voluntarily restrict their water usage.

According to the DNR half of Minnesota is experiencing severe drought and around 4% of the state is experiencing extreme drought. City staff say residents have done a good job in the past decade with limiting water use. Currently, the city has not put any sprinkling restrictions in place but that could change as early as next week if drought conditions progress.

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“It’s probable we’ll go to odd-even restrictions where people on the odd side of the street can water on one day and people on the even side of the street can water the other day,” said Annika Bankston, the Water Treatment and Distribution Services Director of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis has relied on the Mississippi River for drinking water for more than 150 years. The city assures the public of its continued ability to produce sufficient quantities of high quality water for its residents and wholesale customers.

“As rainfall goes down, there’s less water replenishing the river so we’re making sure that as we use it, we are using less and the flows in the main stems of the river are what they need to be for downstream users,” explained Bankston.

Some water conservation tips include taking shorter showers and watering the grass during the coolest part of the day to avoid evaporation.

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Six-year-old Dane Anderson from Minneapolis shared how he’s been staying cool while conserving water.

“I have been having popsicles, going to water pools, sometimes indoor pools and having lots of watermelons,” said Dane.

Dane’s dad, Kyle, said they’ve been using less water in their small garden, but he said the main concern with the severe heat is their dog.

“She’s an extremely black dog and she cooks out in the sun. We’ve been going to dog parks that have water features so she can hang out in the river,” Kyle said.

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The DNR said it would take at least 3-5 inches of widespread rain in a two week period to significantly alleviate the drought.

Pafoua Yang