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NEWS RELEASE: Des Moines Water Works Implements Water Shortage Plan

Des Moines Water Works today will begin implementing Stage 1 of its Water Shortage Plan because of drought-induced low river levels and record-breaking customer demand for water.

These two factors created a 90-percent demand on DMWW’s production capacity, which is the trigger for initiating the Stage 1. On Friday, June 11, Des Moines Water Works delivered almost 90 million gallons of water to its 500,000 customers.

Much of the increase in water demand in the summer is a result of turf irrigation. Beginning today, customers are asked to reduce their lawn watering by 25 percent.

“This remains a very fluid situation that changes daily depending upon river levels and customer demand,” said Ted Corrigan, chief executive officer and general manager of Des Moines Water Works. “We have taken proactive steps to ensure we have enough water for customers, but the Raccoon River is low enough that you can walk across it. Now, we are asking our customers to do their part and use water wisely.”

Des Moines Water works urges all customers to follow the irrigation schedule, which includes no turf irrigation on Mondays and to limit all other water usage wherever possible.

“We need all customers, especially those who are large water users, to follow the irrigation schedule and reduce their watering by 25%,” Corrigan said. “Much of the demand on our system right now is caused from watering lawns.  We are asking customers to water less frequently or in shorter duration to help us manage these high demands.”

The Water Shortage Plan was created to manage system demand so customers do not experience pressure, quality or availability issues during periods of extreme demand.

This week Des Moines Water Works plans to raise the flashboards on its Raccoon River low head dam.  Flashboards are large metal gates used to raise water levels around the intake. The flow rate in the Raccoon River is down to less than 300 cubic feet per second compared the median flow of 4,000 cubic feet per second.

As the Des Moines area continue into another week of high temperatures, Des Moines Water Works cautions that water usage guidelines could change on a daily basis. Customers should visit the utility’s website: and follow DMWW on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the most up-to-date information.

The following communities and agencies are served in whole or in part by Des Moines Water Works:

  • Alleman
  • Ankeny
  • Berwick
  • Bondurant
  • Clive
  • Cumming
  • Des Moines
  • Johnston
  • Norwalk
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Polk City
  • Runnells
  • Unincorporated Polk County
  • Urbandale
  • Waukee
  • West Des Moines
  • Windsor Heights
  • Warren Water District
  • Xenia Rural Water District
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