While the beginning of the week calls for some rain across the Northland, the extended forecast calls for more sunshine than precipitation so it's important to keep in mind that drought conditions continue to exist throughout Minnesota.

Recently, the Minnesota DNR stated that five counties were experiencing exceptional drought conditions. They also announced that the Western Lake Superior watershed, which includes the Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor, and Rice Lake areas, had entered the Drought Warning response phase as described in the Minnesota Statewide Drought Plan.

That means residents should be mindful of their water use and to practice careful stewardship of water resources during the drought period.

During drought, water resources are particularly stressed and water conservation measures are especially important. The City of Duluth announced that they, along with all other public water suppliers in the state, have partnered with and will receive guidance from the Minnesota DNR throughout the remainder of this drought period.

They stress the importance of residents and businesses to conserve water inside and outside of their property The offer the following conservation tips to help alleviate stress on the water supply during this Drought Warning response phase.

Outdoor Water Conservation Tips:

  • Water grass only as needed. Most lawns only need 1” of water a week. Turn off any automatic watering controls. Only turn the water on when your lawn shows signs of excessive dryness.
  • Mulch trees and plants. Mulch helps prevent water evaporation and prevents some weed growth.
  • Leave grass clippings in place. Grass clippings provide shade for the soil and prevent it from drying out as quickly.
  • Let lawns grow longer to prevent premature dying and let grass stay longer than normal.
  • Inspect for leaks. Leaks in hoses, pipes, couplings, or sprinklers are a significant source of wasted water.
  • Invest in a rain barrel. Water collected in rain barrels can be used for watering flower gardens and, if needed, lawns.
  • Wash vehicles less frequently, and turn water off when not using the hose.
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Indoor Water Conservation Tips: 

  • Fix running and/or leaking toilets.
  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Take showers instead of baths. Low-flow showerheads save more water.
  • Only run full loads of laundry and use correct water level settings on your machine.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
  • Use water-efficient appliances.

The City of Duluth’s reminds residents that the City's drinking water is sourced from Lake Superior rather than groundwater. The City of Duluth also supplies water to the cities of Hermantown, Proctor, and Rice Lake. Lake Superior is a large and reliable drinking water source, however water conservation is a vital element of drought response plans. Water conservation helps preserve our natural resources and protect against drought impacts.

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