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Board of Water Works response to 2013 statewide drought

Another year of above-average temperatures and very little precipitation has left snowpack in Colorado’s mountains at historic low levels. The majority of our municipal water supply for the entire year comes from winter snowfall, and both the Arkansas River and Colorado River watersheds that supply water for the Board of Water Works of Pueblo (Board) are far below normal. Without significant snowfall in the coming spring months, this situation will lead to much lower than average stream flows in the Arkansas River this year and a tight water supply throughout the Arkansas Valley.

Although this ongoing drought is a natural disaster beyond human control, municipal water providers across the state are dedicated to helping their customers handle these severely dry conditions. Since drought conditions and available water supply vary from city to city, responses to drought in different communities will also vary. We can expect to see many Colorado cities enact various stages of mandatory water use restrictions this year.

When Pueblo was impacted by the severe drought conditions in 2002, the Board implemented outdoor watering restrictions for its treated water customers. Limiting water use during droughts, especially watering outdoor landscape, helps assure continued reliable critical service to customers for consumption and fire protection. The 2002 restrictions limited the days and times for outdoor watering, and curtailed deliveries of water outside the city limits for a number of raw water lease holders (extraterritorial water leases). The Board recognizes that enforcement of these restrictions created hardships for the Board’s customers . As a result of this difficult experience, the Board has made it a goal to avoid watering restrictions and curtailment of extraterritorial water leases whenever possible. To achieve this goal, the Board has worked diligently since 2003 to create and maintain an ample reserve water supply in storage at Clear Creek, Twin Lakes, Turquoise and Pueblo Reservoirs so that it can continue providing a reliable water supply to all of its customers, even during severe droughts. The Board currently has more water stored in these reservoirs than it did entering the irrigation season in 2002, so, at this time, we do not anticipate watering restrictions or curtailment of extraterritorial water leases this coming summer. We believe we have made conservative projections for the water supply in 2013 but, if a significant change would occur like it did in 2002 when our senior 1874 direct flow water right was not available for about six weeks, we will re-evaluate our supply and advise our customers accordingly.

Executive Director Terry Book reminds customers of the Board’s Wise Use policy, stating, “As we all know, water is one of our most precious resources. And, even though we don’t anticipate any restrictions on irrigation this year, we encourage all our customers to practice wise use and not waste any water.”

 

Here are a few tips to make the most of the water you use:

• Water your landscapes before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., not during the heat of the day.

• Don't water your landscapes with a sprinkler during high winds (drip lines and soakers are O.K.)

• Deep, less frequent irrigation builds stronger root systems and more heat tolerance than shorter, more frequent watering.

• Set your lawn mower to a 3” cutting height. Longer grass is more tolerant of dry, hot weather.

• Clean sidewalks and driveways with a broom, not the hose.

Wise use by Pueblo water customers has saved millions of gallons of water since 2003. We acknowledge our customers’ help in preserving this vital resource, and encourage them to continue to do so as virtually the entire state of Colorado continues to suffer from this extreme drought emergency.

CONTACT: Paul Fanning, APR
Public Relations and Legislation Administrator
719-584-0212

 

altAutomated Meter Reading Upgrade

The Board of Water Works of Pueblo (the Board) continues to replace existing water meters with new meters that utilize Automated Meter Reading (AMR).

In the past, Pueblo water customers’ consumption was measured by the traditional process of meter readers looking at each meter in the system and entering the data. With AMR technology, each of the new meters includes a sealed, battery-powered data transponder that periodically sends meter data to one of sixteen data collection units located throughout the covered areas. These solar-powered collectors then send the data to the central computer for billing, customer service, and field services.

 
  

The AMR upgrade program began in the spring of 2008, and will take a total of ten years to upgrade all 40,191 meters in the system. 18,078 have been converted during the first three years of the program, and another4,000 will be installed during 2011.

“This upgrade has enhanced service to our customers and increased the efficiency of our operations,” says Ric Esgar, Field Services Manager. “For example, we can obtain a final read for a customer almost instantaneously without sending an employee across town to manually read the meter. Also, if a customer senses high or low consumption from their bill we can poll their meter from our central office to detect any change in usage that might indicate a problem.”

The conversion to AMR will not cost anyone their job. "The Board's Meter Readers work hard reading all of Pueblo's water meters once a month," explains Danny Golob, Meter Services Supervisor. "The AMR system will keep this task manageable as the Board's service area continues to grow, with meter readers still needed until the entire system is completely automated. By that time, meter readers will have changed duties, some of them maintaining the AMR system."

Meter replacements are being done at no cost to water customers by employees of the Board of Water Works. These employees will wear identification badges and their vehicles will display company identification, as work on the AMR conversion takes place Monday through Friday each week between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Since a brief interruption of water service may occur at a property as its meter is being replaced, customers will be notified individually when work at their particular address is to take place. Notification will be provided both as a phone call and as an informational door hanger.

For additional information, contact Ric Esgar, Field Services Manager, at 584-0245.

 
 

  

Wastewater Adjustment Program

If you would like to water your landscaping during the wastewater adjustement period or if you experience a leak in your home's water system that results in higher water use than is normal for the winter period, you can file for an adjustment.

Click HERE to find out how it works.