Spokane City Council to consider overriding mayor’s veto of water restriction ordinance

Spokane City Council

Credit: Spokane City Council

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council will consider overriding Mayor Nadine Woodward’s veto of Ordinance C36209, which restricts when people can water their lawns.

On Thursday morning, Mayor Woodward vetoed the ordinance, which was passed by Council by a vote of 5-2 on May 23. The city council will consider overriding the mayor’s veto as a Special Consideration during the 6 p.m. Legislative Session on June 6.

The ordinance prohibits people from outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. 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.

“The Mayor’s statement on her veto conflated the measures put in place during normal watering times versus drought-specific response times,” Kinnear says. “During non-drought times, residents should not water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. or water more than four days per week. This saves residents and our City utility department money. We cannot continue to build infrastructure for three summer months a year when we overwater.”

“Spokane residents currently use more water on average per person per day than 97% of the rest of the country. Spokane’s water use increases drastically – 4-5 times winter baselines – during the summer months, when outdoor irrigation is much higher – building our infrastructure to meet the capacity requirements of these summer months is not fiscally responsible,” says Council President Breean Beggs. “This ordinance sets a basic water conservation standard that will save ratepayers money without penalizing them and it requires the City to increase educational efforts for the benefit of all in the community. I agree with the majority of Spokane residents surveyed that protecting the Spokane River and our aquifer should be one of City government’s high priorities.”

Members of the public can attend the meeting in person in City Council Chambers or tune in on Channel 5 or online on Facebook.

READ: Mayor Woodward vetoes water restriction ordinance