DENVER (CBS4)– It’s not a surprise that Denver Water officially approved mandatory watering restrictions during its meeting on Wednesday. The water board had been hinting at the move for a few weeks.
The Denver Board of Water Commissioners determined that the snowfall in March did not do enough to improve the current drought conditions. Most of Colorado is in the second year of a severe drought and above-average temperatures which has led to low snowpack and low reservoir levels across the state.
The commissioners adopted a resolution on Wednesday declaring a Stage 2 drought which means Denver Water customers will have two assigned watering days a week beginning April 1.
“The last time we declared a Stage 2 drought was in 2002,” said Greg Austin, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “We are facing a more serious drought now than we faced then. Our goal this summer is to insure the availability of high-quality water to our citizens, given current conditions and an unknowable end to the drought cycle, protecting not only the quality of life of our community but also the long-term security of our city’s system.”
“Because of the dry conditions our reservoirs haven’t been full since July 2011. We would need about seven feet of additional snow in the mountains by late April to get us close to where we should be. Therefore, we need everyone’s help to save water indoors and outdoors this year. Together, we need to save 50,000 acre-feet of water, or 16 billion gallons, by next spring. We’re asking every person to think before turning on the tap,” said Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead.
Mandatory watering restrictions begin April 1 meaning Denver Water customers may only water two days a week and must follow this schedule:
· Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in even numbers: Sunday, Thursday
· Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in odd numbers: Saturday, Wednesday
· All other properties (multi-family, HOAs, commercial, industrial, government): Tuesday, Friday.
“We need these restrictions to make sure that our customers use less water to make sure that our supplies carry us thru this year and into the next,” said Denver Water spokeswoman Stacy Chesney.
In addition, customers must follow the standard annual watering rules:
· Do not water lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
· Do not waste water by allowing it to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.
· Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete and asphalt.
· Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
· Do not water while it is raining or during high winds.
Reservoirs across Colorado are only 71 percent full. Dillon is the largest reservoir in Denver Water’s portfolio. It’s down 34 feet.
Depending on what happens this summer, under the worst case scenario the lake could drop another 30 feet.
The Dillon Marina is getting ready for anything.
“We got some new 90 foot ramps last fall and since they put the docks in deeper water we need new anchors,” said Dillon Marina spokesman Bob Evans.
“I don’t think we want to get into a situation that if we do go into a dry spell we don’t have water to drink, brush their teeth or shower,” said Evans. “I’ve seen this before. I’m hoping for the best but I’m preparing for the worst just in case because we never know what’s going to happen.”
“If we have another dry winter we would have to ban outdoor watering all together. We really hope we don’t have to get there,” said Chesney.
Denver Water tracks home usage and said the average home uses 6,000 gallons of water per month. In the summer that can triple because of outdoor watering. Denver Water also said the cost of water will be going up because it is such a precious resource.