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Despite Latest Storm, Water Officials Are Very Concerned

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Gore Creek in Eagle County (credit: CBS)

Gore Creek in Eagle County (credit: CBS)

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – The weekend snow storm helped, but communities in the high country are still worried there won’t be enough water this summer.

The lack of snowpack might later bring about water restrictions.

Despite the appearance of a winter wonderland near Vail on Monday, the fact that it’s the only snowpack remaining has water officials very concerned.

“I think it would take a sustained pattern change to get us out of the drought,” Linn Brooks with the Eagle River Water And Sanitation District said.

Without a major shift in the weather expected, Brooks’ department is getting very concerned about water availability in eastern Eagle County. Snowpack surveys tell the water district that the snowpack is essentially gone, melting several weeks ahead of what’s normal; and that makes it difficult for the high country community.

“Our water supply is stream flows, and our reservoir is the snowpack,” Brooks said.

Unlike the Front Range, which has large reservoirs on reserve and sees a drought impact over time, the immediate water flowing down the creek is all that’s available in eastern Eagle County.

“We’re concerned just like in 2002 that the river levels will get low and we’ll have a hard time getting water to people.”

So without any way to really gauge the water’s flow, the water district is just doing what it can to prepare.

“Our primary focus is on making sure there’s fire protection, because it’s going to be a big fire year, we know that. And secondly, to make sure people have essential uses.”

One of those non-essential uses is irrigation and landscaping.

The water district is already contacting customers, urging them to make changes this year so extra-curricular water needs can be kept to a minimum.

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