The city of Woodbury is planning to tighten watering restrictions this week, responding to intensifying drought conditions.

The new restrictions will limit city residents to watering lawns on their trash pickup day, as well as one weekend day specified by the city. Before the drought, Woodbury residents were able to water on every odd or even day of the month, depending on their address.

Homeowners associations also are subject to the new rules. Those with irrigation controllers will have to reprogram their devices to water on the allowed days.

In addition to the new restrictions on residents, owners of commercial properties can now water grass only on Fridays.

All of the new restrictions will take effect on Tuesday. According to the city, violators may be faced with citations.

Jim Westerman, assistant Public Works director for the city, said residents will be expected to follow the rules, but the primary goal for officials right now is to spread the word to its citizens through social media and signs placed at intersections.

"We like to educate folks, and we do recognize that this is a shift," Westerman said. "While the citation element is still in play, right now we are focusing on educating our citizens and giving them an opportunity to change their irrigation programs."

Woodbury residents still are permitted to hand-water plants, wash vehicles and let their kids play in the sprinkler. However, the city warns that the regulations might become even stricter if the drought worsens.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 70% of Minnesota is experiencing severe drought. "If we continue to use the water, and the drought continues to worsen, there could be additional implications down the road and we'd like to avoid them," Westerman said.

Zekriah Chaudhry • 612-673-7186