Lawn sprinkler

MOSES LAKE – Many well pumps on the city of Moses Lake water system have been running non-stop for more than a week due to high water usage.

Municipal Services Director Fred Snoderly said the city’s water system is currently unable to keep up with demand during the recent stretch of hot weather. Basically, residents are using water faster than the pumps can refill the reservoirs.

On Monday, the city-wide water rationing was implemented, meaning irrigating and washing of vehicles is restricted.

Addresses with odd numbers are allowed to irrigate, which includes watering lawns, and wash vehicles on odd numbered days. Addresses with even numbers can irrigate and wash vehicles on even numbered days. 

Any property with irrigation meters two inches and larger are restricted to irrigate from midnight to 8:00 a.m. or on a schedule approved by the city. This restriction does not pertain to most residential housing.

City Parks and Recreation Director Spencer Grigg said the city has temporarily reduced its watering cycle, up to 70 percent in some areas.

"This means that some of our turf areas will show some signs of stress," Grigg said. "This is a temporary situation and we will continue to make adjustments as necessary."

Snoderly said there is currently no timetable for when the rationing schedule will end.  Water usage needs to drop enough for the wells to keep up with demand.

“The Knolls Vista Zone has Well #33 pumping air and water due to the low level of water in the well,” city officials stated. “It has shut off only once in the past week. The other wells in the zone are running full-time also.”

Wells in the Larson Zone have also been running full-time to keep up with demand. One pump also failed and was turned on by hand at the well site.

Snoderly said there has also been mechanical issues at a few wells but the primary reason for low water levels in the wells is due to high usage. Several well zones have hit the low level alarms. The Lakeview Zone has been within a few feet of the low alarm and the two wells are pumping non-stop.

According to a 2015 water quality report for Moses Lake, the city’s wells have a pumping capacity of about 30 million gallons of water per day. The total production in 2016 was about 3.07 billion gallons, for an average of about 8.41 million gallons distributed per day.

Snoderly did not have information available for the wells’ recent production.