In case you haven’t noticed, the region is currently experiencing a drought, which is being touted as possibly the most severe since the 1980s. Until June 21, the Twin Cities had received only three-fourths of an inch of rain since May 10.
“We expect to have generally the same situation through the summer,” said Joe Calderone, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “However, there are some early indications that in the next 30 days, the Twin Cities could see a slightly above normal amount of rainfall.”
In Eden Prairie, city officials are watching the situation closely, but are not alarmed at what they see or project.
“We are in for a long, dry summer,” said Rick Wahlen, the city’s manager of utility operations. “However, we have plenty of water in our system and anticipate we can meet the day-to-day needs of the city and its residents.
It’s the time of year when municipalities experience high water demand and usage.
During this time of year, Wahlen said Eden Prairie typically consumes around 16 million gallons of water daily, while in winter, daily consumption commonly drops to about 4.5 million gallons.
Watering restrictions and allotments are typically in place regardless of the weather situation. In Eden Prairie, watering of lawns, plants, etc., is prohibited between noon and 5 p.m. Houses with addresses ending in even numbers can water on calendar days ending in even numbers, while those with addresses ending in odd numbers can water on odd-numbered days.
“I am confident we have enough water to provide pipe pressure to buildings in the city, provide for the fire department who, obviously, needs water to fight fires, and other daily water needs,” said Mayor Ron Case.
Rainwater falls on the sloping roof of houses, flows into gutters, and from there, it travels to the street, sewage system, and nearby streams, rivers, and lakes, potentially carrying pollutants. But, homeowners can avoid this and save on their water bills by installing systems to capture and retain rainwater for personal use, effectively recycling it.
Melissa Wilsford, founder and owner of Rustic Hills Garden Co., is a strong advocate of such systems. As part of its landscape design services, the company offers a 330-gallon IBC (intermediate bulk container) that captures and stores rainwater for future use in watering plants, gardens, shrubs, and trees.
She and her staff can design and install a system for a homeowner. They can be reached at 612-314-3298 or through the website.
Then there are the Canadian forest fires. Just this week, the amount of unhealthy air coming into the U.S., including the Twin Cities, reached “unhealthy levels.”
From Houston to New York City, the vast majority of the Eastern U.S. is under a suffocating haze of smoke originating from the most severe Canadian fires in over a decade. Reports of traces of Canadian smoke have even been detected in Western Europe.
On June 28, it was announced that the Twin Cities and Chicago had the worst air quality of any major cities in the world.
As the world’s second-largest country in landmass, Canada boasts millions of square miles of forests and trees extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. Currently, the area burning across nearly all of the country’s provinces is approximately the size of South Carolina.
The problem in Canada is the same one the U.S. is going through here, said the NWS’s Calderone. From the end of winter, neither has had any appreciable rain. He added that most of the situation will quickly improve when that happens.
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