It’s unlikely that Belgrade will impose watering restrictions similar to those handed down last week in Bozeman, according to City Manager Ted Barkley, who has fielded some calls from citizens wondering what they can expect.
Barkley said the city is still collecting data, but so far “the Public Works staff is not recommending that we do that.
“We probably will develop materials to encourage people to use water wisely,” he added.
Barkley explained that Belgrade’s water supply issues are significantly different than Bozeman’s. The larger city draws water from the Hyalite reservoir, and “when Hyalite is empty, it’s empty,” Barkley said.
The city of Belgrade, on the other hand, is supplied by groundwater accessed through a number of wells.
Monitors indicate that the city’s stored water levels fall in the early morning hours when irrigation systems are busy watering people’s yards, but the storage is fully replenished by 9 a.m.
“Half of all the water we use is watering grass,” Barkley said. “We think there’s a fair amount of waste going into the ground right now.”
Another, smaller drawdown occurs between 8 and 10 at night, but it isn’t nearly as severe, Barkley said.
“As a community, we’re using a little over a million cubic feet of water per day."
Barkley said that as the summer wears on, city staff may go to the city council to recommend some conservation measures, but that isn’t being considered quite yet.
“In terms of water supply, we’re sitting just fine right now. In terms of delivering 24/7, we’re being stretched a little bit,” Barkley said.