WHITEFISH – The Whitefish City Council has approved a measure that will restrict city water usage for residents year-round.
The new water conservation restrictions for city water users will include an outdoor watering halt from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., everyday, year-round.
After hearing from concerned residents at their meeting Monday night, the council voted unanimously to approve the city code chapter, with one exception that includes vegetable gardens and other community gardens throughout the city.
The ordinance also allows the city to use a two-stage restriction in the event of a water shortage which can limit watering times further, or shut them down completely.
In Stage 1, or a severe water shortage, watering would be limited to two days a week, prohibited on Mondays, and on an alternating schedule based on home location and type.
In Stage 2, or extreme water shortage, all outdoor watering would be prohibited, both for public and private use. Washing of vehicles, boats, trailers, pavement or building exteriors would be prohibited, and no new landscaping would be permitted.
The regulations also allow fines and penalties for not complying with city code.
Public Works Director Craig Workman says the rapidly growing population, along with a bustling tourism season is pushing the limit of the city’s water plant, which pumps up to 4 million gallons a day during the summer months, and is hopeful that this measure can help slow that rising number.