With the current warmer temperatures across the Palouse region many residents are starting to inquire when the City of Moscow 2013 Irrigation Season will open. Pursuant to City Code Title 5, Chapter 17, establishing an outdoor irrigation season, the Public Works Director has the responsibility to establish the season annually. In order to determine the appropriate time to open and close the season the Public Works Director reviews historic, current, and projected temperature and precipitation information, consults with the City Parks Department regarding soil moisture and vegetation conditions, and weighs the need for added irrigation against the stated policies of the City pertaining to water conservation. This process has typically resulted in an opening of the Irrigation Season during the first two weeks of June. Historical rainfall records have supported this time frame. The 2012 Irrigation Season opened on May 28th. This was the earliest since the inception of the program as was due, in part, to a somewhat unusually warm spell in May which prompted many citizens to request an earlier opening. Subsequent to the opening the region experienced approximately one and one half inches of precipitation in the following seven days.
The current National Weather Service forecast projects several weather patterns passing through the region starting this weekend. The result will be an increasing chance of precipitation and lower temperatures including a high temperature on Monday in the 60's. This forecast, together with the fair amount of moisture in the soils is likely to delay the opening of the Irrigation Season for a while longer. Automated and manually placed sprinklers are not allowed at this time. For customers that are concerned about the condition of their vegetation please be aware that hand watering of vegetation is always permitted under the City's Irrigation Ordinance. In addition, for localized dry spots in lawns, customers may irrigate using a hand held nozzle that is designed to shut itself off when not actively in use. Such devices are available to City of Moscow water customers at no charge from the Water Department located at 201 N. Main Street as part of the City's Water Conservation Program. Additional irrigation information and the Water Conservation Ordinance are located at the City of Moscow website at http://www.ci.moscow.id.us/pub_works/water/conservation/.
Questions regarding the outdoor irrigation season should be directed to Nicole Baker, Water Conservation Specialist at 208.883.7114 or Les MacDonald, Public Works Director at 208.883.7028.