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Water ordinance reduces water use across Bozeman

Bozeman Water .jpg
Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 10:30:32-04

BOZEMAN - Bozeman’s watering restrictions went into effect nearly three months ago.

Bozeman resident Reno Walsh has a couple of brown and dry spots on his lawn, but he’s okay with that because he hardly uses any city water to irrigate his lawn.

“We’ve just accepted the fact that we're going to have a brown, hard lawn,” Walsh said.

Instead, he collects rainwater.

Walsh could have used city water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, like other even-numbered addresses in Bozeman.

“We’ve been using that to water our garden and our trees,” says Walsh.

Since the watering restrictions started, the city has received 60 reports of people watering when they shouldn’t be.

Rather than taking an enforcement approach, they are working on education.

“We didn’t get much for repeat for the same address,” says Water Conservation Program Manager Jessica Ahlstrom.

With Bozeman watering restrictions in place, the city left one day where there was no residential watering.

“We have seen decreased water usage on Monday, which shows that a lot of residents are in compliance,” says Ahlstrom.

So, how much did watering restrictions affect Bozeman residents? Quite a bit.

“We’re using 25 gallons less, per person, per day,” says Ahlstrom.

Looking forward to the fall, water levels for the city at Hyalite Reservoir remain normal thanks to the wet spring.

“It may look low but it's actually above average for this time of year,” says Ahlstrom.

As for Walsh, he says having the grass greener on the other side might not be the reality moving forward.

“That American dream of having a nice house with a green lawn but I think that dream — that perspective — needs to change here in the west,’’ says Walsh.

Heading into the fall, Ahlstrom says residents should start cutting down watering use even more to prepare their lawns for the winter.