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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane asks residents to cut back on water amid chlorine shortage as heat wave approaches

UPDATED: Thu., June 24, 2021

A sprinkler spits out water in a Spokane yard in the evening. The City is asking residents to conserve water amid a national chlorine shortage.   (RAJAH BOSE)
A sprinkler spits out water in a Spokane yard in the evening. The City is asking residents to conserve water amid a national chlorine shortage.  (RAJAH BOSE)

It’s an inopportune time for a chlorine shortage.

Just as Spokane prepares to endure record temperatures in the coming days, the city of Spokane is asking – but not ordering – residents to use water sparingly to protect its supply of chlorine.

Like cities across the Northwest, Spokane has struggled to obtain chlorine amid shortages nationwide. Chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water.

The already dwindling chlorine supply will be further drawn upon as temperatures rise and residents use more water.

In a news release, the city asked residents to limit lawn watering to every other day and to early or late in the day, when the water won’t quickly evaporate.

“We need the community’s help with extending our supply of chlorine to give the supply chain time to catch up,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said in a statement. “At this time, the City has an adequate short-term supply, but any further delay and overwatering could impact our system. Adopting the every other day watering schedule can make a significant difference.”

Spokane is not alone in watching its chlorine stockpile diminish.

In a news release last week, the Washington Department of Health explained that shortages across the state were due in part to an electrical failure at Westlake Chemical in Longview.

The chlorine shortage is not expected to impact Spokane city pools, according to Parks and Recreation spokesperson Fianna Dickson. The city can switch to granular chlorine for pool treatment, an option not available for drinking water.

“Switching to granular chlorine will have minor operational impacts on city pools. It can’t be administered with people in the pool, so slight shifts in swim times may be made to accommodate water treatment. City Parks has a moderate supply of granular chlorine on hand to support pool operations during the shortage of liquid and gas chlorine,” Dickson explained in an email.

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