Denver Water, Colorado’s largest municipal water supplier, imposed mandatory usage restrictions including designated watering days due to a lack of snow in the mountains and “serious” Stage 2 drought conditions.
Customers will be assigned two watering days a week beginning April 1, according to a statement today on the utility’s website. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows all of Colorado experiencing some level of drought with reservoir levels low and the statewide snowpack below average.
The last time a Stage 2 drought was declared and water days were assigned in Colorado was in 2002. “We are facing a more serious drought now,” Greg Austin, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners, said in the statement.
“March snows have not done enough to improve the current drought conditions,” the board statement said. “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.”
Because of the dry conditions, reservoirs “haven’t been full since July 2011,” said Jim Lochhead, chief executive officer of Denver Water. “We would need about 7 feet of additional snow in the mountains by late April to get us close to where we should be.”
The board also adopted a higher price structure “to encourage customers to use less water,” with an average summer bill for a single-family residential customer who doesn’t use less water increasing about $6 a month until restrictions end. Snowpack in the South Platte and Colorado River basins, which feed the city’s water supply, are at 59 percent and 73 percent of average levels, respectively, according to the statement.
Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in even numbers will be able to water on Sundays and Thursdays, and Saturdays and Wednesdays for single-family properties with addresses ending in odd numbers. All other properties including multifamily, commercial, industrial and governments can water on Tuesdays and Fridays, according to the utility.
The Denver water restrictions are taking place after the worst drought in the U.S. last year since the 1930s.
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