Mayor Woodward vetoes water restriction ordinance

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward has vetoed an ordinance that restricts when people can water their lawns.

The Spokane City Council passed the measure in a 5-2 vote last month. It prohibits people from outdoor watering between 9 am and 6 pm between June and October. It also limits watering to two days per week if the Spokane River drops below 1,000 cfs (cubic feet per second).

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear sponsored the ordinance citing a study that found Spokane residents use about 202 gallons of water every single day; which is in the top three percent of the country. That number increases nearly six-fold in the summer.

Kinnear said restricting water usage is critical in maintaining the Spokane River.

As part of the ordinance, the city is able to fine those who violate the outlined restrictions.

Woodward previously signaled she would veto the measure, expressing concerns about the “punitive nature of the approach.”

She said she wanted to look into Councilman Michael Cathcart’s alternative, which focused on education and incentives instead of enforcement.

The City Council now has 30 days to override the Mayor’s veto. In order to do so, they must enact the ordinance by a minimum of five affirmative votes.

READ: Spokane mayor opposes water restriction ordinance, calls it ‘punitive’

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