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Whatcom cities implement summer irrigation schedule guidance

City of Ferndale roadside sign advising of irrigation restrictions (July 25, 2018). Photo: Whatcom News
City of Ferndale roadside sign advising of irrigation restrictions (July 25, 2018). Photo: Whatcom News

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Several Whatcom County cities are members of a consortium referred to as the Whatcom Water Alliance (WWA) formed in 2008 as a water conservation group to coordinate communication regarding the management of local and regional water resources. WWA members have promoted irrigation conservation measures between and including the months of June and September.

Alliance members include the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden and Sumas. The member roster also includes the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, Evergreen Water District, Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District, Point Roberts Water District, Water District #2 and Water District #7.

As has been done each year at this time, irrigation schedules based on property addresses have been implemented by the city members of the WWA. Lynden and Ferndale have made compliance with the irrigation schedule mandatory while in the other cities it is voluntary.

Under the WWA guidance, property owners are to water only on designated days based on street addresses. Properties with odd-numbered street addresses can be watered on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Properties with even-numbered street addresses can be watered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Mondays are non-watering days for all properties to provide reservoirs the opportunity to recharge after heavier expected use on weekends.

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Ferndale moved to the mandatory status after city staff reported a temporary drop in reservoir levels during the last week of July and into the first days of August 2018. This resulted in an emergency city council meeting and, later, implementation of mandatory watering restrictions. Public Utilities Supervisor Mike Olinger told Whatcom News the reservoir levels had been reported at their full levels for years until the 2018 drop occurred.

Recognized exceptions include the following.

  • drip watering systems and hand watering
  • watering flower and vegetable gardens
  • watering outdoor potted plant and hanging baskets
  • watering newly planted lawns

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