Thomas Robinson | September 1st, 2020
Des Moines Water Works is struggling with low water levels and poor water quality leading to calls for water conservation.
Des Moines Water Works, is asking city residents to change their lawn watering schedules to help alleviate high water demand and an abnormally low supply. The utility is asking that customers who live at even-numbered addresses water their lawns on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while odd numbered addresses water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Residents are also asked to water before 10 am or after 5 pm to avoid water evaporation from their lawns.
Iowa is facing serious drought conditions across most of the state which has resulted in low river levels in many of Iowa’s waterways. Des Moines Water Works uses two rivers, the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, as the primary source for the city’s water. Low river levels on the Raccoon river are making it difficult to pump water into the city’s treatment plant. To address the issue, flashboards were installed near the Des Moines Water Works’ treatment plant to raise the river level.
Under normal conditions, the water utility would be able to draw from the Des Moines River as well to meet water demands. Unfortunately, the Des Moines River is currently suffering from a toxic algal bloom that has limited the amount of water drawn from that river. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) can contaminate waters with toxins, like microcystins, which can cause vomiting, stomach pain, and even pneumonia.