Kalispell Implements Voluntary Water Restrictions

Officials on July 6 enacted a temporary emergency water conservation measure as peak summer irrigation demand rises while the city enters its second summer with one fewer water source

By Maggie Dresser
A subdivision off of Three Mile Drive on the westside of Kalispell on Sept. 22, 2021 Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Kalispell officials on Thursday announced the city will enter the first stage in a water conservation measure and asks the public to voluntarily reduce irrigation use as the city operates with one fewer well than normal while a new water source awaits construction.

City staff has been communicating with top irrigation users to educate them about efficient water uses and the city parks department will begin reducing the duration of park irrigation by 25%.

The first stage of the water conservation plan is considered “sustainable,” but if water demand increases beyond a certain threshold, stage two would go into effect, which is considered non-maintainable and would require mandatory restrictions.

In stage two, city parks would reduce the duration of park irrigation by 50-75% and construction crews would be required to restrict daily water usage. Additionally, all customers would be assigned mandatory watering days and times based on their address number.

If Kalispell entered stage three, which would be considered non-sustainable, the city would cease irrigation and construction sites would be restricted from water usage. All customers would be prohibited from using outdoor water.

On June 5, the Kalispell City Council approved an emergency ordinance designed to conserve water during peak summer months in the event that demand exceeds supply.

The Noffsinger Spring – the city’s former second largest well – was taken offline in 2021 because the facility’s aging condition could no longer protect against exposure to environmental elements. The city is working to replace the water source with the North Main Well, which is scheduled to big construction this summer.

The city’s water supply comes from 10 groundwater sources and eight water facilities that include four storage reservoirs. The completion of the North Main Well will bring the total groundwater sources to 11.

In 2018, city officials completed a Water Facility Plan Update, which projected an annual 2% growth rate in Kalispell. However, the last several years reflect a 3% growth rate and infrastructure construction timelines did not address the summer’s peak water demands.

The council approved the same temporary emergency ordinance in July 2022, but it was not implemented.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.