Drought has Milwaukee irrigation companies working overtime

The ongoing drought is causing a surge in demand for Milwaukee's irrigation companies, with customers wanting to protect and water their landscape.

There's fear we're on pace for another historic drought. You've heard the FOX6 Weather Experts stress the situation. We're six inches below average for total rainfall in Milwaukee and without a slow, soaking rainstorm in sight. That's why the phones at Milwaukee Lawn Sprinkler have been ringing nonstop and the owner says his team is barely keeping up.

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From Wisconsin's family-run farms to your neighbor's house down the street, the challenge remains the same. Wisconsin's gone dry while irrigation companies can hardly absorb the surge in demand.

"It's a struggle to take on service customers right now," said Mike Todd, owner of Milwaukee Lawn Sprinkler. "We just are booked to the max."

Todd said spring is normally busy for his team, restarting thousands of irrigation systems to prepare for our warmer months, but this year, even with his crews working six days a week, like installing a system at a home in Menomonee Falls, the wait-list grows longer by the day with customers looking for any help in watering their landscapes.

"We're telling people, of course, that you've waited this long," said Todd. "You may have to wait a couple weeks for the estimate, and, of course, you may have to wait a month, a month-and-a-half for an installation date."

Wisconsin's current drought monitor shows about half the state experiencing drought conditions, and that it's most severe around Milwaukee, something Todd said will show in yards and gardens if it isn't already.

"It's gonna start getting yellow and straw and plants are going to wilt," said Todd.

An average irrigation system can cost thousands of dollars, but that's a bargain compared to replacing trees, plants and more.

"If you have a beautiful landscape, the worst thing you could do is not water it, and the easiest thing you can do is ignore it and get behind," said Todd.

For those of you who can't get a sprinkler system, consider using a rain barrel to collect the rain that does fall, and find spots in your yard to keep some of your potted plants in the shade part of the day.