Drought Conditions Create Need for Water Conservation

Local News

This year’s drought has touched the lives of nearly half of the Rocky Mountain State, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. Those with the Ute Water Conservancy District said we can all work together to try and save the shared resource to make it through the rest of the dry summer.

It’s been a dry year for the entire state, and many were hoping for some late snowfall. However, that dream will not become a reality. “The drought’s only going to get worse, so is the heat, so we need to stay on track and continue to conserve water,” said Joe Burtard, the external affairs manager for the Ute Water Conservancy District.

Burtard also said they pull mainly from the Plateau Creek, which should be running at around 300 cubic feet per second. However, the creek is only moving at about 23 cubic feet per second, only slightly more than it was during the drought in 2002.

Burtard said since voluntary water restrictions have been in place, Ute Water has only seen a small increase in their consumer’s water usage. However, there is still one aspect of the household that causes some concern. “Without a doubt the most usage of domestic water is in the outdoor settings, so in landscapes that are not necessarily native to the Grand Valley,” said Burtard.

Watering the lawn at the right time of day is crucial, according to those with Ute Water. “Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. is the very best time to water,” said Susan Carter, the horticulture agent for the tri-river area for the CSU Extension. Carter also added that “less frequent, deeper soaks are going to be better,” said Carter.

For some Western Slope families, the best option may be to use the desert climate to their advantage. “You can have lawn in xeriscaping, it’s not zero-scaping, so we’re not talking about just rocks, but you want to be thoughtful about where the lawn is and why you have that lawn,” said Carter.

There’s one suspect that you may not realize is raising your water bill. “Unexpected usage of water is leaking toilets, and so every domestic water provider here in the Grand Valley is handing out free toilet leak detector tablets,” said Burtard.

Burtard also said it’s all about teamwork. “We’re all in this together and we need to be responsible here in our own community to ensure that we have enough water to get us through the entire year,” said Burtard.

Two different water workshops are happening soon. One is for HOA’s to try and prepare them for drought years. The other is a rain barrel workshop, where you can get the tools to make your very own rain barrel. Call Ute Water at (970)242-7491.

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