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The Cedar Rapids Water Division prepared the Drought Contingency Plan with community input during the fall of 2012. Cedar Rapids City Council adopted the Drought Contingency Plan on February 26, 2013. The Cedar Rapids Utilities Department regularly reviews and updates the contingency plan based on community feedback and operational concerns. If you have comments or questions about the drought plan, please email watermail@cedar-rapids.org or call (319) 286-5900.

The drought plan is set up in stages depending upon the severity of the conditions. Each stage has a variety of actions that are recommended and/or required. The Drought Contingency Plan contains the complete description of each stages' requirements, enforcement, and definitions.

This table summarizes each stage and its required and recommended actions:

Drought Stage
Required Actions*
Voluntary Actions
Normal Conditions
Drought conditions do not exist
City of Cedar Rapids Water Division (CRWD) monitors its water system around the clock to ensure safe, high-quality water is delivered reliably to customers.

Customers are always asked to use water wisely.
Take advantage of the City's Water Wise programs to conserve water usage and be good environmental stewards.
Drought Watch
Early indicators of drought conditions exist
CRWD will monitor conditions and the water system's response closely.

Customers are asked to use water wisely.
  • Reduce landscape watering
  • Consider postponing new plantings until after the drought passes
  • Only run the dishwasher with full loads
  • Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving
Drought Alert
Customer water demand reaches 65% of well capacity
CRWD asks customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption.

All customers asked to reduce water usage by 5%.
  • Only water lawns/gardens between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
  • Limit watering to odd/even days (addresses with odd-numbered houses water on odd-numbered calendar days; addresses with even-numbered house water on even-numbered calendar days)
  • Reduce vehicle washing
  • Reduce pool filling/refilling
Drought Warning
Customer water demand reaches 75% of well capacity
CRWD implements mandatory water restrictions.

All customers expected to reduce water usage by 15%.
  • Restaurants encouraged to only provide water upon request
  • Customers encouraged to reduce pool filling/refilling
  • Consider replacing your toilet with a low-flow model
  • Consider purchasing a rain barrel to help with landscape watering
Drought Emergency
Customer water demand reaches 85% of well capacity
Mandatory water restrictions increase.

All customers expected to reduce water consumption by 25%.
  • Landscape watering limited to 1 day per week with the odd/even day restriction using only handheld or soaker hoses and buckets
  • All hose-end sprinklers and permanently installed automatic sprinkler systems are prohibited at all times. Only hand-held hoses, soaker hoses and buckets allowed
  • Vehicle washing restricted to commercial car washes during watering hours only
  • Water may be added to pools to replace losses during normal usage; filling new swimming pools is prohibited
  • Permitting for new swimming pools, hot tubs, ponds or fountain construction is prohibited
  • Foundations may be watered following landscape watering restrictions
  • Flushing of newly constructed water main will be managed by the City at its discretion. 
  • Limit showers to 5 minutes
  • Take less frequent showers
  • Consider reducing the number of times the toilet is flushed
  • Save water from washing dishes or cooking and use it to water your plants

*For a complete list of recommended and mandatory actions, refer to the 2013 Cedar Rapids Drought Contingency Plan.

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