News & Features

Whitefish Adopts Water Usage Ordinance

New conservation measure will affect hours of outdoor watering

The Whitefish City Council on May 20 adopted a new water conservation ordinance for city water users during peak summer months, limiting the timeframe in which residents can water their lawns.

“This ordinance is not about using less water, it’s really about wasting less water,” Craig Workman, director of Public Works, stated in a release announcing the ordinance. “During the peak summer months, our existing infrastructure struggles to keep up with current water use demand.”

Although infrastructure upgrades are planned, Workman said, they would not be in place for two to three years.

“This ordinance will help conserve water, which can be considered an interim additional water source while those upgrades are being constructed,” Workman said. “This ordinance will also help Whitefish meet our climate action plan goal of reducing our carbon footprint by lowering energy requirements to treat and pump water.”

Moving forward, the following water conservation measures will be in place throughout the year: All outdoor watering is prohibited between the hours of 9 a.m. a.m. and 5 p.m.; commercial lodging establishments must provide guests the option of choosing not to have linen washed every day; watering must not result in coverage of pavement areas or result in excess runoff; and when drought conditions necessitate additional conservation measures, further restrictions will be implemented in stages, depending on the severity of the conditions, according to the city press release.

The protocols for Stage I Severe Water Shortage and Stage II Extreme Water Shortage can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofwhitefish.org.

“We are confident the residents of Whitefish will embrace these efforts, because conservation is good for our community and our environment,” Workman stated. “Yes, it will require that customers modify their water usage practices, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. Other cities that have adopted water conservation measures have found that a culture of ‘waste not, want not’ becomes the norm over time.”

The Whitefish water conservation ordinance will officially take effect later this summer.