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District urges water users to cut back on irrigation

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EAST WENATCHEE — The main irrigation district here urged water users Sunday to cut back on sprinkling lawns and orchards while temperatures soar and reservoir levels drop.

The Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District’s call for conservation followed nine days in which temps reached 96 degrees or more and reservoir pumps had difficulty keeping up with demand.

This situation happens just about every year,” said District Office Manager Shelly Cargo. “Temperatures go up, reservoir levels go down.”

The district pulls water from the Columbia River to fill its four reservoirs. The water is then pumped into pressurized, underground pipes to serve more than 5,600 acres in the East Wenatchee area.

Everyone wants to water in this heat,” said Cargo, “and everyone wants to water at the same time.” Peak irrigation times are mornings before residents leave for work and evenings when they return home.

In weekend advertisements, the district urged users “to please talk with your neighbors, stagger your water schedules, water less often or cut your watering time in half to avoid little to no pressure” in the irrigation system.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, which provides irrigation water to properties on the west side of the Columbia River, has not issued a call for conservation. It diverts water from the Wenatchee River into open canals that snake through the city. River levels have remained high through July, said district manager Rick Smith, and canal capacity strong.

A break in the extreme heat came last weekend as temperatures hovered in the mid- to high 80s. Wetter and cooler weather is expected through this week, but hot temperatures could return in the first two weeks of August, forecasters have said.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.