GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Colorado River, often used in the summertime for recreating, will soon become the site for water pumps from Ute Water in the midst of Mesa County’s worsening drought conditions.
Ute Water officials say they will soon be pumping water out of the river to preserve water stored in their terminal reservoirs. This decision has been a long-time in the making.
“This is a historic drought for us. It’s two years back-to-back, and we started preparing for it twenty years ago, because we knew it was going to come,” says Ute Water’s Larry Cleaver.
While they have been preparing for a long time, officials say it does not mean this drought is not a concern for Mesa County. This is the first time in 65 years that water from the Colorado River has been used to offset demand from drought conditions.
Not to mention, this is the first time a two percent drought pumping rate will be added to customers’ monthly water bills. The added rate will be in effect starting July 1st, and continue for the foreseeable future.
What will this mean for Mesa County residents? Ute Water says your water usage will determine the cost increase.
“For customers that just use the minimum, two percent is looking at about forty-seven cents, but the more a customer uses, the more they will pay in that impact rate,” explains Andrea Lopez. The price raise will go towards increasing levels of electricity, chemical treatment, as well as maintenance costs.
To aid in the county’s efforts to avoid worsening drought conditions, experts suggest limiting lawn watering, as well as running water at home. Ute Water assures us that while this drought is concerning, the implementation of water pumps from the Colorado River is strictly a ‘preventative’ measure, and that Mesa County will be okay.