The City of Cheney has a short- and a long-term plan for sustainable water. The City Council recently approved a contract to redrill Well 3, which has been offline for a few years. Our plan is to have Well 3 online prior to next summer. This would boost our ability to replenish our reservoirs during peak demand. The redrilling of Well 3 will take approximately 150 days, and is priced at $1.8 million. The City has received $750,000 from the State in order to begin the design and drilling portion of the project.
Our long-term plan is a water reclamation project (water reuse). Our Wastewater Treatment Plant treats about 1 million gallons of water per day and puts it in our wetlands. Water reclamation would take a large strain off of our domestic water system. To that end, the Department of Ecology is organizing a technical team to work on this water reclamation project, which would provide nonpotable water for irrigation of city parks and large green spaces at Cheney schools and commercial properties. This project is in the investigative stage.
The main stress on our water system is irrigation during hot summer days with no precipitation. It is only when the summer heat arrives and lawn irrigation drastically increases that water demand exceeds the system’s ability to maintain safe reservoir levels.
Apartment complexes and new homes are actually small users of water. As a reference point, during nonirrigation seasons (fall, winter, early spring), we use only one or two of our wells to keep up with the demand of the entire city. Cheney is not running out of water. Our water supply is plentiful for most uses, such as water that is used inside your home, school, or business.
Effective August 8 and at least through the weekend, a mandatory lawn watering shutdown was put in place for all green spaces. The lawn watering shutdown is necessary to replenish our reservoirs and help protect our fire flow requirements and the integrity of the system. “The City does not take this lightly,” said Mayor Chris Grover.
If everyone complies with the lawn watering shutdown through the weekend, we may be able to allow restricted, limited lawn irrigation next week. Vegetable gardens and flowers may be watered, but not during the day, and residents are asked to use water wisely.
We appreciate the cooperation of our Cheney residents, businesses, and apartment managers who have stopped watering their lawns. Cooperation by everyone is essential to the community having adequate water supplies available through the summer. By careful use of the city’s precious water now, it is hoped that further mandatory restrictions can be avoided.
“I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to our Cheney community for being patient and complying with our water restrictions,” said Mayor Grover.