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Billings city water usage drops 40 percent after restrictions imposed on Mondays

Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 20:02:21-04

Billings- It’s been one day since the Billings city water department implemented water restrictions and already city officials are praising residents for doing their part to conserve water.

“I’m thankful for the Billings community because they... really did step up,“ said Louis Engels with the water department.

Engels says the city saw a 40 percent dip in water use, which was a significant difference.

“Which Monday previously had been our highest,” he said. “This Monday, we were completely full in our reservoirs, so... it's been a nice break.”

And a major question on the minds of many during this implementation of the restrictions: Did residents use more water on Sunday or Tuesday to compensate?

“We did see a little higher level on Sunday, which we expected a little bit, and then Tuesday so far has been, it's been good, it's been a normal Tuesday,” he said.

Engels says Mondays are high usage days so any talk of limiting water use to odd and even-numbered days, wouldn’t be as effective.

“We get the question a lot,” he said. “Why not just even, odd watering like some communities? But there are differing results on that, sometimes that can cause people to water even more because they will overwater.”

And what about those who still chose to water on Monday even though restrictions are in place?

“Our plan is to get some door hangers on some residents that we've been seen watering on Mondays, and gently remind them that, 'hey this is a restriction, and you're required to do this,'” he said.

Engels says the city can also monitor water usage through smart meters.

“We can tell who's watering on Monday, so we'll be checking those to verify,” he said.

Users can call in with concerns to the water department if they see a neighbor or business not following the rule.

Then, Engels says they’ll provide those addresses with a friendly reminder of the rule.

He also says, those not following the water restriction can face a misdemeanor charge under the city’s water and sewer rights agreement.

But overall, he says the 33,000 water users in the city did a great job of following the restrictions.

“I’m really pleased.”

The restriction stays in effect for six weeks.