Salt, used in home water softeners, passes through waste water plants to rivers and lakes, where it has toxic effect on fish and other aquatic organisms, and where it permanently and irreversibly contaminates groundwater. Short of expensive reverse osmosis, there is no feasible way to remove salt from wastewater. Options are central softening of drinking water and encouraging residents to take steps to reduce water softener salt use.
For example, the city of Medina prohibits lawn irrigation systems from being connected to the city water supply. Instead, property owners may utilize stormwater ponds sometimes supplemented with private water wells, whose siting within a city can be restricted/prohibited by the city. MN Dept. of Natural Resources' records of private water wells are kept but, in relation to a city understanding whether aquifer water withdrawals are sustainable, generally only draws for larger wells (using over 10,000 gallons/day or more than 1 million gallons/year) are reported to the state. Flow metering and reporting for smaller wells may be required if they fall within a designated groundwater management area.
Water utilities report water conservation efforts and outcomes via an annual report to MN DNR's MPARS (MN Permitting and Reporting System). The Metropolitan Council Water Conservation Toolbox is a one-stop shop for resources and has extensive tips and resources for water customers and water suppliers. See also Greening Lawn Irrigation - a toolkit for Cities seeking to engage homeowners in water conservation through improved lawn care practices (Resilient Communities Project, University of MN: 2015). Note that research in MN shows that odd/even watering ordinances do not decrease consumption, but a Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday ordinance does (by cutting allowed days of watering by 33%).
See WaterSense and EnergyStar appliances, especially WaterSense-labeled weather-based irrigation controllers, a type of "smart" irrigation control technology that uses local weather data and soil moisture sensors to determine when and how much to water.
Provide education/information around lawn watering and home water conservation and rain barrels; summarize watering ordinance but report conservation rate structures and dynamic user feedback under action 20.7, rain gutter disconnects from sewers under action 20.3; education about home water softeners under 20.4
Report residential water use under 75 gal/capita/day; modify and adopt a model landscaping ordinance that encourages low water-use landscaping; assist owners of automatic or underground irrigation systems to install the state-required rain/moisture sensors; report water use reductions; become a WaterSense Partner.
Create and report on a rebate or feebate program to promote purchases of WaterSense- and/or Energy Star-rated appliances; review building water conservation strategies during development reviews; as code allows facilitate household/building site rainwater harvesting/reuse; prohibit city water from supplying lawn irrigation systems.
Who's doing it
Austin - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
1) Austin Utilities currently uses a conservation rate structure utilizing seasonal rates to promote water conservation. The rate was effective May 12, 2009 2) Austin Utilities currently offers an extensive rebate program promoting the purchase of Energy Star and Water Sense appliances. All information can be found on the Austin Utilities website under the Conserve and Save Rebates sections of the Residential and Business pages.
The city of Chanhassen offers landscape rebates to residents who remove irrigated lawn and replace it with un-irrigated perennial landscaping. The city also offers free irrigation audits to all property owners, including HOAs and businesses. A city utility worker is a WaterSense certified irrigation auditor and performs the inspections. The city had also received a grant in the past to offer rebates to residents who buy or replace their irrigation controllers with Smart Controllers. Commercial and industrial developments are reviewed for stormwater re-use for irrigation needs and opportunities. Irrigation re-use has been approved by the city for stormwater ponds and underground tanks on commercial and industrial sites. The city is also working with HOAs to implement re-use irrigation from ponds for all common areas.
Individual property owners should see a reduction in their water usage over the summer months after removing areas of irrigated lawn. For irrigation audits, property owners should also see a reduction in water usage as well as possible improvements to lawn health due to corrections made to broken equipment or inefficient spray patterns.
Section 5-8 of the City Code states that "The city council has determined that in certain drought conditions it may become necessary for the protection of the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of new hope to conserve the water supply of the city by imposing a water sprinkling ban on all residential, commercial and industrial lawn and garden vegetation. Also, New Hope's contract with the city of Minneapolis for the purchase of water requires the imposition of a water sprinkling ban at the direction of the city of Minneapolis. The purpose of this section is to set forth the nature and extent of the regulations controlling any sprinkling ban imposed by the council."
The city constructed a 160,000-gallon underground water storage tank at Northwood Lake in 2016 that collects rainwater and is used to irrigate the nearby ball fields.
In 2017, the city adopted an ordinance requiring that all landscaped areas utilizing an automatic irrigation system be controlled by a moisture sensor irrigation controller. The requirement applies to all new development projects, excluding single-family and two-family residential.
On February 23rd the RPU Board approved the following water conservation rates which became effective on April 1, 2010.
1. Residential conservation block rates (3 tier block rates)
" Base block: 0 to 7 units of water -- $0.692/unit
" Second block: 7.01 to 12 units of water -- $0.761/unit
" Third block: e 12.01 units of water -- $0.875/unit
2. Irrigation rate for commercial / industrial customers
" Single block rate: $0.875/unit for all commercial and industrial irrigation meters. This is the highest rate charged and the same as tier three for residential customers.
Note: One unit is 100 cubic feet (1 CCF) = 748 gallons
With the implementation of the water conservation rate, it was important that RPUfollow up with a public information and education program and incentives that would help their customers conserve. In conjunction with the implementation of the water conservation rate in April, RPU launched its Conserve & Save® Water Rebate program.
RPU offers rebates to customers who purchase energy and water efficient appliances and equipment that meet established standards of water and energy efficiency.
Residential water rebates include:
Water Efficient Appliances & Equip. Amount
High-Efficiency Toilet (HET)* $50
Clothes Washers** $25
Rain Barrels $10
Rotating Sprinkler Nozzle $4 per nozzle
Educational and Promotional Activities
RPUs water educational programs consist of:
" Annual Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) -- bill insert
" Storm water management / Ground water protection collaborative effort with Rochester Public Works -- bill insert.
" Water Conservation Brochure which includes tips, water household audit checklist, a kids page and program information.
" Special events such as water tasting demonstrations at the Apache Mall
" School presentations and activities e.g. middle school presentations regarding water system operation, class tours of water towers, and high school science class presentations
" Water conservation tips and water rebate program brochures are available via the RPU Service Center, website, as a bill insert, and handed out at all RPU participated events.
" Water conservation kits are used as give-aways for special events.
" Water leak detection tablets are available for checking toilets via RPUs Service Center and at RPU events.
RPU has partnered with Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Science Center, a new environmental learning center scheduled to open in the fall of 2010. As a major partner and contributor, RPU will be phasing-in exhibits over the next three years to educate youth and adults with respect to: water source, water protection, and water conservation.
Other means of customer information include site specific water efficiency and conservation advice through 1) RPUs energy audit program and 2) water distribution workers visiting homes and businesses to investigate specific and implausible usage.
RPU and Minnesota Energy Resources (MER) have teamed up with the Center for Energy and Environment to offer Rochester homeowners Neighborhood Energy Challenge, which is part of the new full-service residential energy audit program. While the primary focus is gas and electric energy savings, our third party auditor also identifies ways in which to save on water usage and will install low flow showerheads.
On the commercial side, RPU offers a program called Partnering in Energy Solutions. RPU will partner with a business to help them implement energy and water saving solutions. The program encourages an evaluation and inspection of their equipment and processes to reduce maintenance costs, improve comfort, provide precise control, extend equipment life, and most importantly save resources.
Routinely, RPUs customer service department will get calls regarding high water use. RPUs water distribution workers will visit the home to investigate potential leaks. Customers are provided information and encouraged to follow water conservation practices such as:
" Investigate and repair leaky faucets / toilets.
" Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
" Limit showers to five minutes.
" Use air-dry setting for dishwasher
On a routine basis RPUs water distribution employees audit the water system for possible water main leaks. Leak detection is accomplished on one third of the water distribution system each year (approximately 2,500 audits). RPUs water accountability is currently at 94%.
Each month RPUs SAP customer care system monitors customers water usage by flagging unusually high meter readings. When high meter readings are detected, an assessment is made and if appropriate, RPU personnel are dispatched to verify the usage and identify appropriate actions reduce waste and conserve water.
Odd/Even watering restrictions in effect from May 15-Sept 15.
4 tier conservation rate structure.
Promote rain barrel sale with the City of Roseville.
Education on water conservation, Shoreview's groundwater supply, and Environmental Quality Committee reviews development for stormwater features - usually recommend greywater reuse or capturing rain water for irrigation.
The City of Bloomington provides guidance to residents with information on use of rain barrels. Additionally, the City of Bloomington draft 2017 water supply plan reports that the 2011-2016 five year average residential per capita water demand is 73.9 gallons per day.
Additionally, in 2017 the City of Bloomington lowered the threshold for residents to move into Tier 2 water rates, to encourage conservation.
Crystal, as a member of the Joint Water Commission, purchases water from Minneapolis. In 2018 the city did a utility rate study and changed the basis for billing to a consumption basis, in part, to encourage wise use of water.
In 2001 the City of Eden Prairie adopted a ordinance which established standards for water usage.
Lawn Watering uses a significant portion of Eden Prairie's water supply. It is very important that residents and businesses follow the City's ordinance to ensure there is enough water for all uses, including vital services such as fighting fires.
Eden Prairie also offers eUtilityBilling service to its utility customers. With eUtilityBilling, you are able to:
"Pay your utility bill 24/7
"Receive electronic billing statements
"View your billing and payment history online
"View your water consumption history online
The City first adopted a watering ordinance in 1988. It has since been amended and reads as follows:
During the period from May 1 through September 1 annually, all lawns on all property with addresses that end with an odd number may be sprinkled, watered or irrigated only on odd-numbered days, and all lawns on property with addresses that end with an even number may be sprinkled, watered or irrigated only on even-numbered days; provided, however, that during this time period, no lawn sprinkling, lawn watering nor lawn irrigation shall be allowed from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. This provision shall automatically apply unless superseded by action of the City Administrator as provided in § 325-1 above imposing more restrictive measures. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the City Administrator, or his/her designee, may, upon request of a property owner, authorize daily sprinkling, watering or irrigation of newly seeded or sodded lawn areas, provided that such permission will not increase the risk of a water shortage of such magnitude as to threaten the public health or safety.
The City of Isanti also supports alternative landscaping options, which may not require
an irrigation system. Alternative landscape options include, but are not limited to, rock gardens,
natural prairie grass, and rain gardens.
Maplewood provides a model for landscaping that allows low water-use landscaping described in the management plan. This is shown with the city wide push for an increased number of raingardens, both residential and city made.
The city of Maplewood also has resources available to help residents have a sustainable turf-based yard. The city website provides a lot of information on ways to save water.The city also advertises the sale of Rain Barrels through the Recycling Association of Minnesota as a way to prevent excess water consumption.
In line with the conservation of drinking/groundwater the city also has a fertilizer ordinance to prevent pollution.
Link to Maplewood Sustainable yards:
Link to Maplewood Rain Barrel Sale:
Link to Maplewood fertilizer ordinance:
Marshall Municipal Utilities has an Odd/Even sprinkling ordinance in place to help conserve and balance the demand for water. A Water Conservation Rate is also in place for residental and sprinkling meters. Rebates are provided for WaterSense toilets along with free low flow shower heads and faucet aerators to Marshall residents.
Conservation efforts have increased considerably since implementing a water conservation rate in 2009. More than 70 WaterSense toilet rebates were given out since 2010 when the program began and over 2,600 low flow shower heads have been provided to date.
The city's zoning code includes a shoreland, wetland, and storm water management ordinance. The city is a partner with the EPA in the Water Sense Program. The city code calls for landscaping that will improve ground water quality and reduce storm water runoff.
There are several energy efficiency actions and green building practices in the city of Saint Paul. Examples include:
•All buildings required to follow the Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy (www.stpaul.gov/sustainablebuildingpolicy)
•District Energy St. Paul (http://www.districtenergy.com/environment/)
•LEED certified buildings in Saint Paul such as: Karges-Faulconbridge Office Building, Spruce Tree Centre, The Wilder Center, Macalester Institute for Global Citizenship (Platinum), Park Midway Bank, United Family Practice Health Center (http://greenbuildingwire.com/LEED-certified-building-MN)
•St. Paul RiverCentre which has a solar hot water system (http://www.xcelenergycenter.com/sustainability)
•Science Museum, which has solar installations and a heat-recovery system (http://www.smm.org/sciencehouse/about)
•J&J Distributing (http://www.jjdst.com/produce/)
•Garden Fresh Farms (http://gardenfreshfarms.com/)
And many more.
The City adopted a watering ordinance in 2007. The City is also a WaterSense promotional member. The City participated in the National Mayor’s Challenge to Save Water by Wyland Foundation and received 4th place nationally.
The watering ordinance can be found on the City website, in the Municipal Code 401.120.
Apple Valley has adopted by ordinance water restrictions that are in effect daily May 1 to September 30 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; residents using alternate sources such as private wells or water from lakes or ponds are subject to the same restrictions. Apple Valley has also adopted the following water conservation rate structure: first 1,000 gallons - $1.04; 6,000 to 10,000 - $1.06; 11,000 to 15,000 - $1.29; 16,000 to 35,000 - $1.66; over 35,000 - $1.93.
Bursville has a water conservation rate structure. The rates are shown in the attached PDF. The rates apply to residential uses, commercial uses, and include rates for irrigation and off-peak snow making.
In Coon Rapids, an odd-even sprinkling ban is in effect every year from June 1 through August 31. This means houses with an odd number address water on odd numbered days and even numbered addresses water on even numbered days. If necessary during periods of drought, additional restrictions may be imposed to ensure sufficient water supply for firefighting and every day necessities. Part of this ordinance also includes educating residents about the importance of conserving water and how available water supply can change.
Cottage Grove has adopted a water conservation ordinance which allows for odd house numbers to water on odd days and even house numbers to water on even days. In December 2012, a time restriction was also put in place which prohibits watering between the hours of noon and 4pm.
The City of Eagan has premanent conservation program for outside water usage. If your address ends in an odd number such as 311, outdoor watering is allowed on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc., day of the month. If your address ends in an even number such as 312, outdoor watering is allowed on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, etc., day of the month. This permanent systen is in effect throughout the entire outdoor watering season.
The State has enacted legislation requiring cities with a water utility to adopt a rate structure that encourages water conservation. To comply with the law, most cities, including Eagan, have chosen to adopt a tiered rate structure.
Eagan has a two-tier system in place. Effective July 1, 2010 residents pay the same rate they are accustomed to paying$1.40 per thousand gallonsfor the normal indoor usage. The normal usage level will be defined as water used in the winter quarter, a period void of outdoor use such as watering lawns, washing cars, and filling swimming pools. Water used in the non-winter quarters in excess of normal will be billed at $1.75 per thousand gallons." found on the Cities web page at http://www.cityofeagan.com/live/page.asp?menu=21444.
Odd and Even day Watering
$1.40 per thousand gallonsfor the normal indoor usage.
Water used in the non-winter quarters in excess of normal will be billed at $1.75 per thousand gallons
The city has enacted such an ordinance with the support of Elk River Utilities. No sprinkling is allowed between 10am and 6pm. Even numbered addresses may water on even days of the month and odd numbered addresses may water on odd numbered days. This has been very successful despite limited enforcement abilities.
The City also maintains a water rate structure as follows: $1.50 per 1000 gallons up to 9000 gallons, $3.50 per 1000 gallons from 9000-15000 gallons, and $4.00 per 1000 gallons after 15000 gallons.
The City of Inver Grove Heights shares water conservation strategies on an annual basis in the Insights Newsletter and the Annual Water Quality Report. This includes information regarding lawn watering best practices and workshop opportunities focused on landscaping for clean water. The City has adopting a watering ordinance that restricts lawn watering to specific times and dates of the week to promote water conservation. This information is promoted on the City website and in the Annual Water Quality Report. The City website promoted additional information on water conservation strategies including rain barrels, rain gardens and watersense purchasing.
In 2007, the City adopted a water use ordinance specifically to address residential lawn watering and irrigation practices. Impacts to the City's water system were felt particularly during hot summers water levels in the aquifer drew down and it was harder to pump water to replenish storage tanks. The ordinance specifically restricted customers to odd or even day watering and prohibited watering between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. Exceptions were allowed to hand watering of gardens and the establishment of new sod.
The City of Mankato adopted a watering ordinance in April of 2013 in order to limit use of water resources and ensure adequate water supply for the community. The City uses an even/odd calendar system for watering, with all watering prohibited between 11AM and 6PM. Watering limitations have been formally adopted and continue to be active.
In 2001, the Minnetonka City Council adopted an ordinance of water restrictions for the months of May through September. The sprinkling ordinance restricts the sprinkling hours in order to prevent wasteful sprinkling during the day hours. Ordinance number 1200.040 limits lawn sprinkling to before 11:00 a.m. and after 5 p.m. In order to further encourage water conservation, water is billed on a conversation tiered rate. While there is no minimum use charge on water the heaviest water users are charged twice what the lightest users are charged. Commercial and industrial rates are billed at a base rate of $1.80 per 1,000 gallons from October through April, then pay a summer surcharge of $2.15 per 1,000 gallons May through September. Additionally, commercial and industrial irrigation rates are similar to the tiered residential rate structure. This structure aims to target the heaviest commercial and industrial users. Both the residential and commercial/industrial rates may be viewed by visiting the city's website using the provided link.
The City has a tiered rate structure for its water and sewer utilities. The rates can be found on the City's website. Additionally, the City is participating in a water conservation rebate program. Through the program, individuals can get rebates for Energy Star clothes washing machines, WaterSense labeled toilets and WaterSense labeled Irrigation Controllers purchased and installed by June 30, 2017.
The City of Oakdale has a long-standing odd/even lawn watering ordinance. The city also implements a three-tiered residential water rate structure and a four-tiered commercial rate structure to encourage water conservation.
Water System Goal #6 in the City's Comprehensive Plan states: "Promote water conservation and sustainability by reducing water demand, reducing the waste of water, improving the efficiency of the existing system, and educating the public on water conservation."
The City sends water conservation information out in utility bills and as part of the annual CCR report. On January 1, 2010, the city implemented a 3-tier conservation rate structure. Irrigation systems are supposed to have sensors on them and permanent annual water restrictions are in place from 5/1-9/30 to encourage decreased sprinkling.
Rogers charges residential water customers according to the following Conservation Rate Structure: $1.19/thousand gal for use under 6,000 gal/month; $1.49/thousand gal for use between 6,0000 and 30,000 gal per month; $1.79/thousand gal for use between 30,000 and 75,000 gal per month; $2.15/thousand gal for use over 75,000 gal per month. The City has two tiers for commercial customers: $1.49/thousand gal for use under 47,000 gal/month; $1.79/thousand gal for use over 47,000 gal/month.
The City also enforces odd-even day watering restrictions.
In March 2012, the City initiated a commercial water conservation program, in which it will meet with the top 20 commercial water customers to verify that the customer has a rain sensor, and that the sensor is set to odd/even watering scheduling per city code. The city has allocated $5,000 to pay for the installation of rain sensors for customers who do not have them. Through this process, the city hopes to enforce watering ordinances and assist businesses to become compliant with with city policies regarding water conservation.
The City of Royalton updated its water Ordinance 6.04 in 2015 to include water conservation measures. We did this because we are installing a new well and water treatment plant in 2015 and the ordinance upgrade was required by DNR.
Residents know what water conservation methods the city will require and when those conservation measures will be enacted.
Section 245:15 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of St. Cloud authorizes the Director of the St. Cloud Public Utilities to implement a ban on all nonessential uses of water, including watering. The subsequent code section, Section 245:20 identifies that a penalty of disconnection of water service may be imposed on the utility account for noncompliance with the watering ban. Service will only be restored after payment of a turn-on fee.
The City adopted a Water Conservation Plan which requires that lawn watering can only occur on either odd or even days based on one's house number. As a result, less wastewater is sent to the St. Cloud Treatment Facility. As of 4 years ago the city also requires all lawn irrigation systems to install rain sensor devices.
The City adopted a Water Emergency and Conservation Plan in 2006 which requires that lawn watering can only occur on either odd or even days. As a result, less wastewater is sent to the St. Cloud Treatment Facility.
In 2008 the City implemented a watering ordinance in an effort towards water conservation. The watering ordinance restricts the use of water from May 1st - September 30th. Properties with even addresses can water on even calendar days and properties with odd addresses can water on odd calendar days. Under the watering ordinance property owners can not water between the hours of 10am-5pm in an effort to reduce wasteful watering. Additionally for all new irrigation/sprinkler system a rain sensor must be installed.
In 2014 the City is aiming to reduce water usage throughout the community by implementing an outreach/education program.
The city offers a rebate program for citizens who submit they have purchased energy star appliances and equipment. The City of Victoria is pleased to offer a rebate program for the purchase of water-efficient appliances as a means of promoting water conservation. Victoria residents are eligible for a rebate of up to $100 for the replacement of a clothes washer or dishwasher with the purchase of an ENERGY STAR® qualified water-efficient clothes washer or dishwasher and a rebate of up to $50 for the replacement of toilets, shower heads, and faucets with WaterSense labeled products.
Odd / Even and time of day watering restrictions in effect from May 1 through September 30.
Odd / Even
The use of the City of Victoria's water supply system for lawn and garden sprinkling, irrigation, car washing or other non-potable uses shall be limited to an odd / even schedule corresponding to property addresses each year from May 1 through September 30.
Homes with even number addresses are allowed to water only on even number calendar days and odd number addresses are allowed to water only on odd number calendar days. To conserve water and prevent the wasteful effects of irrigation during the day, no person shall irrigate using the public water supply system between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any day of the week.
The city will be issuing citations for property owners found violating the watering restrictions. These water conservation measures are necessary to protect our natural resources and remain within the city's DNR water usage allocation. Failure to conserve water will result in higher costs for all our residents, so please water responsibly.
Citizens are encouraged to purchase energy-efficient appliances to save money and energy in the city of Victoria.
The City of Woodbury has an odd/even watering schedule that is in effect year-round. Lawn sprinkling is permitted only before noon and after 5 p.m. regardless of whether it is “your day” to water. The City also has a tiered conservation rate structure for water rates. Based on the amount of water used, residents pay as low as 88 cents per thousand gallons water, and as much as $4.88 per thousand gallons of water. The tiered system may be viewed at: http://ci.woodbury.mn.us/environment-main/water-restrictions-conservation/water-a-sewer-rates
To promote water conservation, South St. Paul has a watering ordinance (§62-28) which regulates the times that residents may water their lawns. The Mayor also has the authority to declare a full watering ban.