Viewpoint: Water ban has ended but water conservation remains important
Myron Bailey is the mayor of Cottage Grove.
The city watering ban ended Aug. 1, and we've all been able to breathe a sigh of relief. Construction of a water treatment facility at Well 10 was completed on schedule, and the treatment facility at Well 3 is expected to be ready in mid-August.
The schedule of even-numbered properties watering on even-numbered days, and odd-numbered properties watering on odd-numbered days is back, along with no watering between noon and 4 p.m. A change everyone should be aware of is no watering will be allowed on the 31st of the month.
It's still important to conserve as the city restores its capacity to deliver water in high-demand or emergency situations. As mayor, and as a gardener, I've been impressed by the creative ways to save water I've seen from the citizens of Cottage Grove during the past two months. Personally, I began reusing water from my dehumidifier and am looking at buying a new smart rain sensor for my sprinkler system.
Saving storm water in a rain barrel is also a great way to save money and conserve water. One heavy rainfall can fill a 55-gallon barrel. You can take advantage of the rebate offered by the city for the purchase of up to three rain barrels, or materials to build your own, through the end of the year. The information is posted on the city's website.
Even if you don't have a rain barrel you can do what I've been doing — collect rainwater in buckets. There are lots of ways to conserve water. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, watering lawns in the early morning between 4-8 a.m. helps prevent water loss to evaporation. They also mention that lawns need one inch of water, once a week as light and frequent watering can actually hurt grass health. Another way to keep in moisture is by setting your lawn mower to cut grass to two or three inches. Slightly longer grass takes in more sunlight as well, making it healthier and requiring less water.
The city is doing its part to conserve also and will be watering the city's parks no more than twice a week. Parks north of 80th Street will be watered Monday and Wednesdays while parks south of 80th Street will be watered Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Highlands Park Splash Pad will also reopen, but with limited hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
These last few months have been trying for many of us, but Cottage Grove is a community that bounces back from adversity. Thank you for your help to keep our community strong.