Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake water restrictions take effect


Although the West Plains — and most of Washington state — experienced a wet winter and spring, the city of Medical Lake will still ask its residents to adhere to water restrictions during the summer.

During the summer, irrigation in Medical Lake is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., with an exception made for newly-planted lawns.

The water restriction was set by an ordinance the city adopted in November 2007. The resolution came in response to a critical water situation the city experienced in 2006. The ordinance incorporated reccomendations from the city’s engineering firm, E&H Engineering.

The restriction hours were set because during that time span, most of the water on the ground is lost because of evaporation.

City Administrator Doug Ross explained that while the snowy winter and wet spring put a lot of moisture on the ground, it does not mean there is an abundance of water in the aquifer.

“Are our wells in better shape? Yes, but is there all of a sudden a new infinite source of water? No,” Ross said. “We still have to be cautious.”

Residents who use more than 70,000 gallons of water will receive a hanger on their door knob. Ross said this is an effort on the city’s behalf to ask residents to reduce their water consumption. The hanger also alerts folks who may not realize they are using that much water.

“We all have automatic sprinkler systems and you’ll set them and forget,” Ross added.

Staff will adhere to the restrictions when they irrigate the parks during the summer. The city has asked local homeowners associations and the Medical Lake School District to keep an eye on when they irrigate their fields.

Ross explained that just because the city’s water restrictions are in place does not mean Medical Lake will face a water shortage any time soon. The measure is in place to help preserve the finite resource for years to come.

“This is to make sure generations to come have this resource,” Ross said.

According to its most recent water quality and efficiency report, Medical Lake produced and purchased 286.7 million gallons of water in 2015. This is about a 3 percent increase from 2014 when the city pumped and also bought 280.07 million gallons. However, water consumption dropped about 1.5 percent (266 million gallons) that same year.

In addition to the water restrictions, the city is also concerned with mosquitos. Ross is asking residents to mow their lawns and drain any standing water to mitigate the issue.

Al Stover can be reached at


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