ST. CLOUD -- The City of St. Cloud is asking residents to help conserve water during the drought.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced the state is entering the Drought Warning Phase of the Statewide Drought Plan because more than 50% of the state is in a severe drought.

City officials say the last time the Mississippi River was this low was in 1988.

Starting Tuesday, the city is encouraging customers to limit lawn watering to once or twice a week to reduce demand and preserve the city's drinking water supply. If the drought worsens and the flow of the river continues to decline, St. Cloud will need to implement additional water use reduction.

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Some ways to conserve water include only watering the grass when needed as most lawns only need an inch of water per week, mulch your trees and plants, leave grass clippings in place, let the grass grow taller, check for leaks on hoses and couplings, fix running toilets, shut off the water while brushing your teeth, take a shower instead of a bath and only run appliances that use water when they are full.

The DNR says it will take 3-5 inches of rain over a two-week period to significantly reduce the drought conditions.

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