MOSCOW — Lower-than-average temperatures and considerable precipitation has allowed the City of Moscow to delay the start of the irrigation season. The irrigation season typically opens in early June but has opened in early May during very hot, dry years, which was the case in 2021 with a May 3 opening. To date, an opening for the 2022 irrigation season has yet to be determined.
It is not uncommon for Moscow’s water use to double during irrigation months. To help curb this demand on the city’s declining aquifer, a declared outdoor irrigation season is determined every year based on the spring weather. This spring, they have had 6.2 more inches of precipitation than last year. This year has also been cooler by 5.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
The weather is currently providing enough moisture to sustain Moscow’s outdoor landscapes while saving over one million gallons for each day community members are able to delay starting the irrigation season. That is enough water for a family of four at their current per-person use for over ten years.
“While perhaps not conducive to your summer BBQ plans, the weather this spring has been very helpful for our declining aquifers; the sole sources of drinking water here on the Palouse. Our overall outdoor water consumption accounts for 30% of all the water pumped for the City of Moscow. As we continue to see more extremes in our climate patterns, it will be all the more important that we take advantage of years like this to save water,” said Tyler Palmer, City of Moscow Deputy City Supervisor of Public Works and Services.
Pursuant to City Code Title 5, Chapter 17-5, https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/DocumentCenter/View/1309/Chapter-17—Water-Conservation-PDF), regarding establishing the Outdoor Irrigation Season for 2022, Tyler Palmer, Deputy City Supervisor—Public Works and Services, has consulted with appropriate staff, researched temperature and precipitation information and determined that the irrigation season still is not open. We will continue to monitor soil conditions to determine an irrigation season open date. We appreciate all your efforts to save water! If you would like to find more resources to save, including rebates and free devices, visit the City’s conservation page: https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/446/Conservation.
Additional irrigation information and the Water Conservation Ordinance Variance Application are located on the City of Moscow website: http://www.ci.moscow.id.us/651/Irrigation. City operations are also subject to this variance process. Typically this variance is requested for playfields and park spaces in Moscow that meet the criteria.
Questions regarding the Irrigation Season or variance process should be directed to Kelli Cooper, Environmental Education, and Sustainability Specialist at 208-883-7122.