No lawn watering request extended


INDIANAPOLIS - Just when Hoosiers were hoping to get the green light to save their lawns, officials extended their request for no watering another week.

Whether watering the yard or saving a newly-planted tree, the water company is reminding residents again to turn off the sprinklers. Too many people are still using too much water.

"We're pushing water to the customer through 4,300 miles of pipes. Again, everyone is asking for water, we've got the pedal down, moving as fast as we can, but it's creating some main breaks for us," said Matthew Klein, Indianapolis Department of Waterworks.

There's plenty of water in local reservoirs and rivers, but pumps are working too hard for too long to move that water, which creates high pressure within an old infrastructure.

"These old pipes, this is what he said, these old pipes, with more pressure makes them bust. And that's what's going on with it," said homeowner Robert Crouch.

Crouch spoke with crews over the weekend about the leak in his older, southside neighborhood. It's not the first time a pipe has busted here.

"That one just started. He came out here and said he couldn't do something until Tuesday or Wednesday," he said.

That's because larger jobs are piling up. A water main break at 12th and German Church Road last week took three hours to fix.

"He said he was busy. He says they're busting everywhere," said Crouch.

The Indianapolis Water Company pushes water to homes in five counties. System-wide, throughout the weekend, water mains have either broken or leaked, causing loss of service, low water pressure and compromising firefighting efforts. The cost of fixing a break can also trickle down to customers in their water bills.

So, even with a little rainfall, the utility company is asking to hold off on watering your lawn for five more days, through Friday. They suggest taking care of gardens and flowers with a full watering can or milk jug.

The water company says Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the biggest lawn watering days of the week. They say the average amount of water pumped a day is 140 million gallons, but during this week's heat wave, the average has topped 200 million gallons a day.

Press Release

The Department of Waterworks is asking residential and business customers to not water lawns through Friday, July 29 in the wake of continued lack of rain, high heat, and high water consumption.

The initial voluntary request was issued Wednesday, July 20.  Water consumption, mostly for lawn irrigation, has remained high and is stressing the underground infrastructure.

Water main breaks have been steadily increasing in both number and severity since late last week.

"The system is definitely feeling the stress of these past two weeks," said Matthew Klein, executive director of the Indianapolis Department of Waterworks, owner of Indianapolis Water.

"We are seeing more significant water main breaks, periods of low water pressure, and a definite impact on the ability to assist in the event of a major fire."

The request to voluntarily refrain from lawn watering is for all customers, including individual residential customers, apartment complexes, commercial parks, and industrial facilities.

Indianapolis Water will reevaluate the voluntary request on Friday and make a determination about whether to extend or relax the request at that time.

On an average day, Indianapolis Water pumps 140 million gallons of clean, fresh drinking water. Consumption in the IW service territory has been at or above 200 million gallons per day since July 11, and the utility is struggling to refill storage tanks after peak hour demands.

The Department of Waterworks owns and manages Indianapolis Water, which serves nearly one million people in central Indiana, and contracts the system's operation to Veolia Water Indianapolis.