Water Conservation

The City of Orono is asking residents to voluntarily implement water conservation measures as the State endures the current drought.  

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) announced that the State is entering the Drought Warning Phase of the Statewide Drought Plan because more than 50% of Minnesota is now in a severe drought. The DNR reports that it will take three to five inches of precipitation over a two-week period to significantly alleviate the drought. The City of Orono thanks those that have already put forth water conservation efforts before and during the drought period.  Due to current conditions, more efforts are needed. 

Effective July 26, 2021, the City is encouraging customers to limit lawn irrigation to once or twice a week to reduce demands and preserve the City’s drinking water supply.  If the drought conditions worsen, the City will be required to implement additional water use reduction measures to comply with the DNR’s Statewide Drought Plan.  

It is important to conserve water inside and outside of your property.

Outside Water Conservation Tips

The best option during the drought is to let your lawn go dormant.  It’ll turn brown but will come back one the rains return.  And then hand water plants and gardens.  Barring that please consider the following:

  • Water grass as needed – Most lawns only need 1” of water a week. Water three times a week applying about 1/3 inch at a time.   Putting 1 inch of water on an acre of grass will required 27,150 gallons of water. 
  • Use Smart Irrigation controls - Don't allow sprinklers to run unattended. Use a timer as a reminder when it's time to move or turn off the sprinkler.  Make sure your system adjusts for the amount of rainfall that might fall on your yard and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
  • Time your lawn watering - Only water your lawn before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on scheduled days. Mid-day watering is not efficient and results in large amounts of water being lost to evaporation.
  • For homes and businesses on Municipal water we ask that you only irrigate on alternating days.   This helps the water system keep up with demand.  Homes or businesses with even-numbered addresses should water their lawns on even-numbered dates. Homes or businesses with odd-numbered addresses should water on odd-numbered dates.
  • Mulch your trees and plants – Mulch helps prevent water evaporation and prevents some weed growth.
  • Leave grass clippings in place – grass clippings provide shade for the soil.
  • Let the grass grow longer to prevent premature dying – let grass stay longer than normal.
  • Check for leaks – Leaks in hoses, pipes, couplings, or sprinklers wastes water. A small leak in your automatic irrigation system can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • Invest in a rain barrel – water collected in these barrels can be used for watering gardens and, if needed, lawns.

Inside Water Conservation Tips

  • Fix running toilets.  A leaking Toilet wastes about 200 gallons of water a day.
  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth. 
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. Low Flow showerheads save more water.
  • Only run full loads of laundry and use correct water level settings.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.