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
Automated Meter Reading Upgrade
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.
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