Cheney Free Press -


Water refill going slow

Cheney residents advised to contine conservation through rest of summer


The extended streak of hot weather and recent severe storm-induced power outages led the city of Cheney to issue mandatory outdoor watering restrictions on Monday, Aug. 4.

Water usage for lawn irrigation systems and sprinklers was restricted for at least 48 hours, scheduled to resume at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Public Works director Todd Ableman said the power outage created by the severe storm July 23 was not too bad, but the storm Aug. 2 left wells 6 and 7 located along SR 904 toward Tyler without power for over 15 hours. Well 3 is also down for rehabilitation work that hopefully will restore some of its pumping capacity from its current 100 gallons per minute to closer to the original 900 gpm.

Well 8 is equipped with backup power generation, and Ableman said the city has a trailer-mounted backup generator it can use to restart another well pump. Between the heat and the outages, the city ran its four reservoirs, totaling 4.4 million gallons, located between North Ninth and North Tenth streets down to the seven-foot water level, roughly 20-30 percent of full capacity.

“We took a big chunk of reservoir out and we want to build that back up,” Ableman said.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 5, the reservoirs were recharging slowly, up to just about 11 feet. Ableman said a comfort level for him is between 15-20 feet.

“Twenty-plus is great for us, but when we get down that low (seven feet) we want to recover,” he added.

Cheney is recommending that for the remainder of the summer, residents and businesses irrigate lawns on an odd/even watering schedule where even-numbered addresses water on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days. Ableman suggested not irrigating during the day, when the sun evaporates most of the water before it can be absorbed into the ground, and apply no more than 1 inch of water on lawns per week.

The mandatory watering restrictions do not affect Eastern Washington University, which operates its own water system fed by their own wells.

John McCallum can be reached at


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