The Big Sky County Water and Sewer District No 363 (WSD 363) operates the community public water system that serves the Mountain Village, Lone Moose Meadows the greater Meadow Village area including Town Center, West Fork, and South Fork subdivisions, Sweetgrass Hills, Aspen Groves and Hidden Village.
Our drinking water comes from multiple groundwater wells that produce naturally high-quality water. Big Sky’s remote and pristine setting eliminates many of the human caused water quality problems that plague more densely populated areas. In fact, our water quality was nationally recognized when it was voted “the best drinking water in America” at the 2015 American Water Works Association (AWWA) national convention in Anaheim California. Learn more about the quality of the water you drink at: https://bigskywatersewer.com/water-department/#waterquality
Due to the large elevation difference across our water system (over 2100 feet) and the complicity of the geology underneath us, high pressure management for our distribution system and finding enough water supply to serve our full build out obligations are some of WSD 363s greatest challenges.
To make the most of the water we have in Big Sky, water conservation is critical. Many folks living here in Big Sky, came from areas of the country that are not as “high and dry” and don’t realize how much more water it takes to keep an average lawn green around here. Summer irrigation season in Big Sky, which coincides with the dangerous forest fire season, can increase the water demand on the system as much as 300+% over the busier winter ski season. To assure that the districts water storage tanks remain at safe levels during the summer fire season irrigation restrictions are in effect each year from June 1 to September 15. To learn about the summer irrigation restrictions, click here: https://bigskywatersewer.com/water-department/#irrigation
Water Conservation pays. The district uses a tiered water rate to encourage and reward conservation so the more water you use the more expensive per gallon the water will cost. Everyone wins when we conserve water, you can learn some helpful conservation tips to reduce your water bill and at: https://bigskywatersewer.com/water-department/#conservation You can even set up an account to track your own water use and pay your water bill online with the Districts “Water Smart” feature. To learn how to set up an account click here: https://bigskywatersewer.com/online-bill-pay/
For water haulers, contractors and landscapers bulk water is available for sale in the summer season weather depending. Our fill station is typically available to the public from May 1st – October 31 depending on the current weather conditions. Our typical hours of operation are 8 am – 4:30 pm. Our fill station is located right outside of our office at 561 Little Coyote Rd. You will need to fill out the fire hydrant use form for your company in order to use the hydrant fill station. We bill bulk water sales anually. To download the fire hydrant use form, click here. (Link to bulk water use permit)
For Contractors and Plumbers installing new water service connections, engineers designing water main extensions, fire suppression engineers needing fire flow info or a complete list of the Big Sky Water and Sewer District 363’s standard specifications and drawings go to: https://bigskywatersewer.com/information-documents/#standards
Welcome to our irrigation restriction section, where we provide information on how to conserve water and save money on your water bill through the use of xeriscape landscaping and high-efficiency irrigation techniques. Irrigation restrictions are put in place to help conserve water which in turn prolongs the availability of water in our aquafers. Irrigation use in Big Sky increases water demand systemwide by up to 300% during the summer. A typical customer may see an increase of up to 600% in the summer due to inefficient landscaping and irrigation techniques. To help conserve water many Big Sky homeowners are switching from traditional landscaping to xeriscape landscaping. Xeriscaping is a water-efficient landscaping method that uses native plants, rocks, and mulch to create a beautiful and low-maintenance outdoor space that requires minimal watering. By reducing your reliance on traditional irrigation methods, you conserve water and save money on your monthly water bill. In this section, you will find helpful tips and resources on how to implement xeriscaping techniques and information on local irrigation restrictions and how to comply with them. So, whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, we encourage you to explore this section and discover how xeriscaping can benefit both your wallet and the environment.
Current Irrigation Restrictions: LEVEL TWO
Track Your Usage
The District uses the “WaterSmart” platform as our customer portal for online bill pay, customer alerts, and water usage information. Within the WaterSmart platform, there is a great water use tracking tool that allows you to track your own water use and even set up alarm thresholds. To create or login to your WaterSmart account, click the link below.
For a quick introduction on how to setup your WaterSmart account, watch the video below.
If you’re a homeowner in Big Sky, Montana, you know that water is a precious resource. With a dry climate and limited water supply, it’s important to use high-efficiency irrigation techniques to conserve water and maintain a healthy landscape. Here are some tips on how to implement these techniques:
Install a Smart Irrigation Controller: A smart irrigation controller uses weather data to adjust watering schedules automatically. By only watering when necessary, you can conserve water and save money on your water bill.
Use Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots of your plants, reducing water waste and promoting healthy growth. This method is also ideal for sloped or irregularly shaped landscapes.
Choose Native Plants: Native plants are adapted to the local climate and require less water than non-native species. By incorporating these plants into your landscape, you can conserve water and create a beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor space.
Mulch Your Garden Beds: Mulching helps to retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. It also suppresses weeds, which can compete with your plants for water and nutrients.
Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Irrigation System: Regularly inspecting and maintaining your irrigation system can help to identify leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other issues that can waste water. Fixing these issues promptly can save you money and help conserve water.
By implementing these high-efficiency irrigation techniques, you can reduce your water usage and maintain a healthy, beautiful landscape in Big Sky, Montana. Remember, every drop counts, so do your part to conserve this precious resource!
Fix a leak
Not only will fixing household leaks save money on your monthly bills, it saves water for our community. This annual event encourages residents to find and fix household leaks – but remember – you can find and fix leaks inside and outside your home or business all year long to save valuable water.
There are a number of easy ways to save water, and they all start with YOU.
When you save water, you save money on your utility bills.
The first step is to make sure you are using all the water you are paying for.
Check your house for leaks, especially if you have an unexpectedly high water bill.
Once you are sure you don’t have any leaks, here are just a few ways to conserve water.
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- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This practice will save water, energy, detergent, and money.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
- For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
- Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables, rather than letting the water run over them. Then, collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, and reuse it to water house plants.
- Use only a little water in the pot and put a lid on it for cooking most food. Not only does this method save water, but food is more nutritious since vitamins and minerals are not poured down the drain with the extra cooking water.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
- If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer or when you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant, instead.
Always keep water conservation in mind, and think of other ways to save in the kitchen. Making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in the sink can add up over time. By making these small changes in the kitchen, you can count on bigger savings on your yearly water bill.
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- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
- Take a shower instead of taking a bath. Showers with low-flow shower heads use less water than taking a bath.
- Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
- Reduce the level of the water being used in a bathtub by one or two inches if a shower is not available.
- When remodeling a bathroom, install a new low-volume flush toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- Use a toilet tank displacement device such as a toilet dam or bag. Another alternative is filling a plastic bottle with stones or water, recapped, and placed in the toilet tank. These devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank but will still provide enough for flushing. Displacement devices are not recommended with new low-volume flush toilets.
- Never use the toilet to dispose of cleansing tissues, cigarette butts, or other trash. This wastes a great deal of water and also places an unnecessary load on the sewage treatment plant or septic tank.
- Do not use hot water when cold will do. Water and energy can be saved by washing hands with soap and cold water. Hot water should be added only when hands are especially dirty.
- Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing and scrubbing and be turned on again to rinse. A cutoff valve may be installed on the faucet.
- When shaving, fill the lavatory basin with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
- Place water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
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- Use your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. This will save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
- When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
Plumbing & Appliances
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- Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
- Check all waterline connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons per month, and will add to the water bill.
- Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
- Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
- Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to “run hot.”
- Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used.
- Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.
- Winterize outdoor spigots and faucets when cold temperatures arrive to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
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- Water only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
- Do not over-water. Soil can hold only so much moisture, and the rest simply runs off. A timer will help, and either a kitchen timer or an alarm clock will do. Apply only enough water to fill the plant’s root zone. Excess water beyond that is wasted. One and a half inches of water applied once a week in the summer will keep most grasses alive and healthy.
- Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months. Otherwise, much of the water used on the lawn can simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass.
- To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water, rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation. Adjust sprinkler heads as necessary, to avoid waste, runoff and ensure proper coverage.
- Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough, but infrequent watering. Pressure-regulating devices should be set to design specifications. Rain shut-off devices can prevent watering in the rain.
- Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs, or turn soaker hoses upside-down so the holes are on the bottom. This will help avoid evaporation.
- Water slowly for better absorption, and never water on a windy day.
- Forget about watering the streets or walks or driveways. They will never grow a thing.
- Condition the soil with mulch or compost before planting grass or flowerbeds so that water will soak in rather than run off.
- Fertilize lawns at least twice a year for root stimulation, but do not over-fertilize. Grass with a good root system makes better use of less water and is more drought-tolerant.
- Do not scalp lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. Grass should be cut fairly often, so that only 1/2 to 3/4 inch is trimmed off. A better looking lawn will result.
- Use a watering can or hand water with the hose in small areas of the lawn that need more frequent watering (those near walks or driveways or in especially hot, sunny spots.)
- Use water-wise plants. Learn what types of grass, shrubbery, and plants do best in the area and in which parts of the lawn, and then plant accordingly. Choose plants that have low water requirements, are drought-tolerant, and are adapted to the area of the state where they are to be planted.
- Consider decorating some areas of the lawn with wood chips, rocks, gravel, or other materials now available that require no water at all.
- Do not “sweep” walks and driveways with the hose. Use a broom or rake instead.
- When washing the car, use a bucket of soapy water and turn on the hose only for rinsing.
- We’re more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
More Great Conservation Resources
Montana Rural Water
Click here to go to the Montana Water Rural Water Systems website ad learn about water & waste management
Gallatin River Task Force
Click here to go to the Gallatin River Task Force website, and learn more about how to conserve water in your Big Sky home.
Click here to go to the Outside Bozeman website, and learn more about xeriscaping in Montana and how to conserve water in your Big Sky home.
Bulk water sales
Big Sky Water & Sewer District sells bulk water for water haulers, contractors and landscapers. Our fill station available to the public from May 1st – October 31 depending on the current weather conditions. Our typical hours of operation are 8 am – 4:30 pm. Our fill station is located right outside of our office at 561 Little Coyote Rd. You will need to fill out the fire hydrant use form for your company in order to use the hydrant fill station. We bill bulk water sales anually. Stop by our office to apply or download the fire hydrant use form and email it to us. To download the form, click here. Bulk Water Use Permit