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In response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s expanded drought emergency announcement this week, Kelso may once again ask its citizens to conserve water during the summer.

The city will likely have to implement voluntary water restrictions starting July 1, Community Development Director Michael Kardas told the City Council Tuesday night.

“It’s unnerving (and) a little concerning, but I have confidence in our operators to provide a consistent water supply,” Kardas told the council.

The restrictions will likely be the same as last year, such as limiting yard watering and vehicle washing to 30 minutes on alternate days, keeping showers at five minutes, turning off the faucet while brushing teeth and running full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers.

While the restrictions are voluntary, it’s possible the city may need to make them mandatory later in the summer, City Manager Steve Taylor told The Daily News after the meeting.

In addition, the Catlin Spray Park will likely have reduced hours over the summer from noon to 7 p.m., instead of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Kelso gets its water supply from the Cowlitz River through a Ranney well system, which collects water through pipes driven into the river bed. Last summer, near record-low river levels prompted the city, for the first time in recent memory, to ask citizens to voluntarily restrict water use. The city lifted the restrictions three months later.

On Monday, Gov. Inslee expanded a drought emergency to include the Cowlitz, Grays- Elochoman, and the Upper and Lower Chehalis, among many others, after water supply was projected to be below the drought threshold for nearly half the state.

The city has been looking at alternate water sources and is in conversation with the City of Longview about options for connecting the water supplies, if necessary.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The council awarded about $68,000 in federal grant dollars to the Kelso Housing Authority to build 30 units of affordable housing for low-income families; $50,000 to Lower Columbia CAP to build an affordable triplex for homeless veterans; and about $4,000 to Foundation for the Challenged to build a three-bedroom house in Kelso for extremely low-income individuals with a developmental disability.

The council also:

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