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COLUMBIA - If you live in southwest Columbia, the city has a suggested watering schedule that might affect you.

According to a news release, the city hopes residents in the following neighborhoods could reset the timers on their irrigation systems and water at staggered times between midnight and 4 a.m.:

  • Bradbury Estates
  • Creek’s Edge 
  • Thornbrook
  • Steeplechase
  • Wyndham Ridge


The city says the plan is to prevent the area’s water customers from getting a precautionary boil advisory. 

The city’s monitors show that the water pressure would drop during early morning hours from 4 to 6 a.m. The decrease is a result of people and a lot of irrigation systems using water. 

Columbia Water and Light Department says Missouri Department of Natural Resources requires the city to issue a boil advisory when the system pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch. Pressure lower than 20 psi may cause a backflow, and contaminants could be siphoned into the water distribution system.

“A boil advisory requires water customers boil their water in case the water is contaminated. The water quality tests take 24 hours to process so boil advisories usually last for one day,” the department says.

Several residents in the area told KOMU 8 News they received a notice from the city earlier this summer, but they know many people are still hesitant to make the change. They said they don’t know if watering after midnight would harm their lawns. 

Matthew Fields, a technician at Signature Lawn Services LLC, said the best time for watering is between 3 and 7 a.m. 

“This allows for the lawn to uptake water in the root system and the foliage to dry off during the day,” he said. “Lawns that are watered in the evening hours have the highest chance for disease injury due to the foliage and soil remaining saturated overnight.”

Fields said the real problem the city faces is having aging infrastructure while it continues to expand. However, he said he believes the city’s voluntary irrigation schedule is the best approach it has available. 

“It is not a permanent fix to the problem but will help to reduce ruptured water mains and boil water advisories as the city works to upgrade infrastructures to accommodate growth,” he said. “As residents of Columbia, we are fortunate that our main concern is the regulation of times that lawns can be watered and not a complete restriction of irrigation as seen in drought stricken communities.”