▶️ Expecting severe drought year, City of Bend urges water conservation early

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The City of Bend is trying to get a message out early this year: Check your irrigation system and start conserving water now, because drought season could be worse this year than last year.

“We’re getting ahead of the official drought declaration just to get people’s attention and get people on board to what’s happening around us,” Dan Denning, water conservation program manager for the City of Bend, said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released a graphic last week showing much of Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties are already experiencing extreme drought conditions. A portion of Deschutes County is already in the exceptional drought category.

And we’re still two weeks from the beginning of summer.

“We’re seeing the typical indicators of drought in Deschutes County again, but this year we didn’t get the jump start of precipitation in the form of rain we usually get around April or May,” Denning said. “So we’re off to a dry start.”

So the City of Bend is urging water conservation earlier than usual. They’re asking people check conserve via sprinkler system by following the city’s Water Use Code and checking systems for leaks.

“We alerted 17,000 leaks last year through to customers through our Water Smart program,” Denning said. “The majority of water we use is outdoors. It’s about 60% of our water use.”

Denning said people seem to be more receptive to conservation messages this year than in year’s past.

“That’s really encouraging,” Denning said. “It’s a lot easier to work with people who want to conserve. In the past some of our messaging has maybe seemed redundant or people weren’t as interested.”

More information about Bend’s Water Use Code is available here.

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