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Water Conservation

When the Village of Downers Grove agreed to become a recipient of Lake Michigan water, it was required to adopt specific water conservation regulations. The use of water from Lake Michigan is strictly monitored by various organizations, and the facilities servicing the Chicagoland area are limited to the water they are allowed to take from the lake. This means that all municipalities using this source are given a maximum daily consumption amount. In order to guarantee our continued compliance with these guidelines, the Village of Downers Grove Water Department encourages water customers to do their part to assure an adequate water supply tomorrow by using water efficiently today.

When can I water? 

From May 15 to September 15, residents can use outdoor water based on an even/odd system. The last digit of an address determines the day. If an address ends in an even number, the resident can water on even calendar days; if the address ends in an odd number, the resident can water on odd calendar days.

Outdoor water can be used between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on your watering day.

Watering at peak times of the day is inefficient and wasteful due to evaporation. In addition, restricting the hours of outdoor water usage allows the Village's water tanks to refill. Violators of the water restrictions are subject to a $50 fine.

NOTE : The use of water collected from rain barrels is not subject to the Village’s Water Restrictions and Conservation policies.

Dividing outdoor water usage by this even/odd system decreases the demand for water and, under normal conditions, will maintain adequate water pressure for the health and safety of the community. If the Village is not able to maintain adequate water pressure with the even/odd restrictions, an Emergency Water Ban can be declared.

The Emergency Water Ban has three phases of additional restrictions.

  • Phase I prohibits the use of automatic sprinkler devices and systems, bans the filling of swimming pools, and bans the washing of automobiles.
  • Phase II prohibits the use of hoses. 
  • Phase III prohibits the outdoor use of water altogether.

Water Permit

Residents may apply for a permit to water new sod or other new plantings on a daily basis, if needed. The permit is $40.00 and is valid for up to three weeks. Applicants may apply at Public Works, 5101 Walnut Avenue and must provide a copy of the receipt for landscape material. 

All users of the Downers Grove water system are subject to the regulations of the Water Conservation Ordinance in Section 25.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code.

Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a water tank used to collect and store rainwater at the end of your downspout, which you can then use to water plants, wash your car and reduce your water bill. They are a simple, efficient, low-cost method for homeowners to collect and recycle water. The Conservation Foundation offers rain barrels for sale, as well as local retailers. 

Rain Barrel Installation Information

More about Water Conservation

Preserving Every Drop is the DuPage County Water Commission’s Water Conservation and Protection Program. The purpose of the program is to provide all water users in DuPage County with a consistent message about water conservation and provide customers with the tools needed to be good stewards of our finite water supply. The overall goal of the program is to achieve a 10% reduction in water use per person within 10 years.

Why is water conservation so important?

Downers Grove is one of many communities in five Illinois counties served by Lake Michigan. The Village's allocation of Lake Michigan water is limited by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Because the Village's daily pumping allocation is fixed, future demand,  caused by either increased resident population or economic development, must be met with current supply. Therefore, additional conservation of water by both residents and business is vital to the health and welfare of residents, as well as the economic growth and sustainability of the Village.

Summer Water Conservation

In the summer months, up to 50% of a home's water use is outdoors - and most of that is for landscape maintenance. There are two great ways to reduce water usage and still enjoyi this beautiful time of year: water only as needed and replace turf grass with natural landscaping.

Water Only As Needed

  • Lawns need only 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week.
  • Monitor rainfall. Don't water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall with your rain gauge. Don't apply more water than what is necessary.
  • Water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday watering due to evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases.
  • Water every 5-7 days (if no rain). A soaking rain can extend the period to 10-14 days.
  • Water as infrequently as possible. Water thoroughly so moisture gets down to the depth of the roots. Avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds.
  • Avoid overwatering. Overwatering does more than deplete the water supply; it also makes plants prone to pests and adds to stormwater runoff, which can pollute our waterways.
  • Consider drip irrigation. When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grassy areas, you can apply water directly to the roots with low volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste through evaporation or runoff and keep weeds from growing.

Natural Landscaping 

Replacing portions of your lawn with native plant beds can help reduce your water bill! Native plants need less on-going care and watering than turf grass. Find out more here:


Rain gauges are easy to use and can act as an accurate way to measure how much water plants are getting over time. Use your rain gauge to monitor how much rain was received at your house.  Keep track of weekly rainfall totals to determine whether your lawn needs additional water.

  • Step 1 Clean your rain gauge to begin use. Allow it to dry thoroughly before using it.
  • Step 2  Place your rain gauge straight up and down at the location where you want to measure the rain.  Be sure to keep it free and clear of any buildings, trees or plants. Make sure its secure so it won't tip over.
  • Step 3  Determine the period of time that you want to measure the rainfall. Some people pour the rain out of their rain gauges at the same time each week to get an idea of the total rainfall for a week. Others check their rain gauges after each rainfall.
  • Step 4 Wait for the rain to be completely over before checking the level of rain to get the full rain reading. Rain gauges measure rain in tenths of inches.
  • Step 5 Take note of the the amount of rain collected to track the amount received.
  • Step 6  Empty your rain gauge, and return it to its location so it's ready to collect the next round of rain.