WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hot and dry days are leading to a surge in demand for water across the state.
"This is the control room where we have our eyes on everything that's going on both at the plant and out in our distribution system," said Christina Murphy, general manager for West Des Moines Water Works, as she gave Local 5 a glimpse of the facility where the monitor water usage across its service area.
The water utility is one of several companies implementing the first stages of their drought management plans.
"We had a dry year last year and a very dry spring. We're kind of setting ourselves up for a long summer if we don't see some more rainfall," said Murphy.
Stage one calls for homeowners to cut down water on their lawns by 25%. Water meters installed at customers' homes helps West Des Moines Water Works review real-time data.
"It is completely voluntary; there's no going out and shutting people's water off for irrigating or anything like that. But we do have ways to at least measure and watch that," said Josh Hogan, business relations manager for the utility.
With a stretch of hot and dry days, is that even possible? Shawn Edwards, general manager of A+ Lawn & Landscape says it is.
"What the city's asking for is what should be happening, but most people don't understand the watering system," said Edwards.
To save water while water your lawn, Edwards suggests water for 30 minutes every other day instead of 20 minutes every day.
"You can save water just by watering longer, which will soak in better have less evaporation makes the roots grow deeper, because that's where the water is.," said Edwards.
He also suggests water early in the morning instead of during the day or in the evening.
Finally, mowing your lawn higher helps retain moisture.
"Increasing your mowing height to 3.5 inches over 2.5 or three inches will save a ton on your water bill because it's going to hold that moisture in," he said.