Columbia Irrigation District customers are being placed on an odd-even watering schedule.
Those with odd-numbered addresses can water on odd calendar dates, while those with even-numbered addressees can water on even dates.
The Kennewick-based district has 9,000 property owners, a mixture of agricultural and residential, receiving water from a canal fed by the Yakima River.
Melting snow usually fills the river in the summer months, but lack of snowpack has caused a drought.
CID also asks water users to avoid watering in peak periods to keep water pressure strong.
Customers whose watering date falls on Sundays are asked to water on that day because if they don’t, it leaves too much water in canals, meaning water will run short on Mondays.
The change is meant to prolong the district’s water supply because it’s never experienced a drought with water running so short this early in the season, district officials said.
CID and other users with senior water rights issued before 1905 are entitled to their full water amount, because those rights can’t be limited by the state or federal government. But they could still be in danger of running out of water without conservation.
“If we don’t adhere to the schedule, we won’t have enough water to get through it,” said Bonnie Kulp, the district’s deputy secretary.
The district provides water for about 34 acres of Kennewick parks. The city has backup water for about 20 of those acres.
The Kennewick Irrigation District moved to a mandatory watering schedule May 31.