Minnesota is facing drought conditions with no end in sight, and Pine City officials are asking residents and businesses to begin taking steps to limit their water use.
“We have great capacity, and we’re not seeing a huge drain on the water towers – but we want to make sure it stays that way,” said interim Pine City Administrator Lynda Woulfe. “We’re asking people to start to think more about conserving. If people start now, we won’t have to go to dramatic measures later. Every little bit helps.
“We’re asking people to ... water infrequently,” she said. “We understand that ... you’re going to need to water. But do it strategically.”
She said one useful step toward cutting down on water use is to avoid watering the lawn during midday, when the water is likely to evaporate before it can reach the roots of grass, plants and trees.
“The best is to water early morning or water late in the evening,” she said.
She pointed out that city parks are not sprinkled, so grass will be dry until the rains return.
However, Woulfe also noted that residents can find relief from the heat at the fully-operational city beach.
“Many people have been using it to its fullest extent this year, which is great after COVID last year, and not being able to operate with lifeguards,” she said. “It certainly is a blessing to be able to have that this year for the community.”
City administrator hiring process
Woulfe also said the city’s process to hire a new, permanent city administrator netted 16 applicants before the application deadline of July 21.
She said that, out of those applicants, there are at least five with significant previous experience in city administration. There are also several qualified candidates with less experience.
“It gives the council a good choice,” Woulfe said.
She said she expects that interviews will take place in early August.
“The goal is to have somebody on by the first of September, in case they have family or children they can get kids enrolled in school and that kind of stuff,” Woulfe said.
City offers water conservation notes
Pine City officials offered the following notes for city residents looking to conserve water during the drought:
• Toilet flushing consumes nearly half of the daily household consumption. Toilet dams save about two gallons per flush.
• Most new toilets presently available on the market are engineered for low volume and use about 3 1/2 gallons per flush.
• Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If colored water shows in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak and repairs are needed.
• Bathing usually consumes the second greatest quantity of water in the home. A shower generally uses less water than a bath.
• Do showering and hair washing in one step.
• Fill the tub a 1/4 full. This is enough to cover an adult’s body or float a child’s toy.
• Most showers can be fitted with a flow restrictor or low-volume head to conserve water.
• Don’t turn the shower on until ready to step in.
• Don’t leave water running while face washing, shaving or brushing teeth.
• Twenty-five percent of daily household water use occurs in the kitchen and laundry. Remove frozen foods from freezer before use. Don’t use running water for thawing.
• Use the smallest amount of water possible in cooking to save both water and nutrients. Most frozen vegetables require about 1/2 to 1 cup of water, not half a saucepan.
• Rather than letting the water run while peeling vegetables, rinse them briefly at the beginning and end of the chore.
• Don’t let the faucet run for a cold drink. Keep a jug of water cooling in the refrigerator.
• When washing dishes by hand, use a stopper in the sink and don’t rinse with running water.
For more tips, visit the City of Pine City Facebook page.