Minnesota cities ask residents to conserve water amid drought

As Minnesota faces a drought, some cities have urged residents to conserve water.

So far, the city of Bloomington hasn’t implemented any restrictions, but that could change in a week or so.

"We purchase water from the city of Minneapolis, and in that contract we would impose the same restrictions they would impose…and the DNR is watching this very closely and they have indicated they will likely impose some sort of restrictions shortly," said Karl Keel with Bloomington Public Works.

City officials say if they do restrict water use, it would most likely affect non-essential tasks - like watering lawns, washing cars and filling pools – to make sure residents have enough drinking water for the foreseeable future.

"Clearly, we are in a very severe drought situation across the state, so I think it is prudent that we are careful with our usage. There are some communities that really have the potential of having a shortage," Keel said.

Minneapolis hasn’t added any water restrictions either, but it is asking residents to do little things to conserve water, like turning off the faucet when they shave or brush their teeth.

In the meantime, the dry weather isn’t stopping the barge traffic on the Mississippi River from flowing smoothly. While water levels are expected to remain stable in the Twin Cities over the next couple of weeks, they are forecast to drop significantly in the states downriver.

However, it won’t be enough to keep Minnesota grain from making it to the rest of the country, or bulk commodities like cement, road salt and fertilizer from making their way on the river.

"At this time there doesn't appear to be an impact, but ask me in a week and I may have a different opinion," said Lee Nelson with Upper River Services.