St. Paul lifts drought watering mandates as conditions improve

Drought watering restrictions in St. Paul put in place over the summer have been lifted.

Officials say that rainfall in recent weeks and cooler fall-like temperatures have allowed for the switch. But, while the mandates have been lifted, the city is still encouraging residents to take steps to limit their water use.

The restrictions, which limited how frequently residents could water their lawns and plants, had been in place since last month as Mississippi River levels drought below key thresholds.

On August 20, the river flow average was at 942 cubic feet per second. As of Thursday, the flow is more than three times higher at 3,240 cubic feet per second. The average river flow over the past 90 years was 6,590 cfs, according to St. Paul water officials.

Before the mandates were issued, St. Paul also passed a new ordinance that would allow the city to fine and even cut off water to repeat violators of the restrictions.

As of Thursday's drought report, much of the state has moved out of severe and extreme drought condition zones in central and southern Minnesota. However, dry conditions continue to linger in northern Minnesota.