CHENEY, Wash. — For the second time this year, people living in Cheney are facing a no lawn watering order after the city’s water reserves fell to a low level.
These levels are not only affecting people’s ability to properly care for their lawns, but they also have raised concerns on the fire department’s ability to be prepared for a fire.
Cheney Fire Chief Thomas Jenkins said he became concerned on Wednesday when he saw the water reserves and pressure drop far below normal levels.
“I did have some grave concerns,” said Jenkins.
Low water levels can threaten the amount of water the department may need for a fire. It also means there may not be enough pressure for the hoses to spray onto flames.
This could limit the department’s ability to respond to any fires and could affect them assisting in fighting other flames, like the Silver Lake Fire.
“If you throttle up your fire trucks, and you’re requesting more water than what the system can produce, then you can collapse the system,” Jenkins said. “The problem we had recently in the last couple of days with the Silver Lake Fire is that we had a lot of resources coming in outside of the state.”
Jenkins said crews coming from long distances to help with fires often do not bring their own water. Instead, they rely on the city they’re helping to provide those resources.
Crews helping with the Silver Lake Fire depended on using some of Cheney’s water reserves. This put a strain on the city’s water levels.
“We hit a critical point in the system where they heavily tapped into our resources and brought our levels significantly low,” Jenkins said.
The fire department is heavily relying on a well from Eastern Washington University until the city’s levels increase to a safer level.
Lawn watering restrictions are expected to last until Monday, August 13.