Denver Water declares a Stage 2 drought Wednesday

Declaration limits lawn watering to 2 times/week

DENVER - Colorado's largest water utility declared a Stage 2 drought on Wednesday. Officials also issued mandatory watering restrictions starting April 1.

"The last time we declared a Stage 2 drought was in 2002,” said Greg Austin, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “We are facing a more serious drought now than we faced then."

“Because of the dry conditions, our reservoirs haven’t been full since July 2011," said Jim Lochhead, CEO/manager 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."

Watering schedule:

- Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in even numbers: Sunday, Thursday

- Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in odd numbers: Saturday, Wednesday

- All other properties (multi-family, HOAs, commercial, industrial, government): Tuesday, Friday

Additional rules:

- Do not water lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

- Do not waste water by allowing it to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.

- Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete and asphalt.

- Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.

- Do not water while it is raining or during high winds.

Snowpack in the South Platte and Colorado River basins from which Denver Water receives water are 59 percent of average and 73 percent of average, respectively, officials said. That snow serves as Denver’s water supply.

Denver Water's board said it also issued a drought pricing structure to encourage customers to use less water and help reduce revenue loss. Increases will appear on bills on or after June 1. The drought pricing will remain in effect until the mandatory restrictions are lifted, officials said.

Denver Water said the average summer bill for a single family residential customer who doesn’t use less water would increase about $6 a month. Denver Water said most residential customers who significantly reduce their water use will see a reduction in their bill in comparison to normal usage at 2013 rates.

“Because our primary goal is to ensure water is available for health and safety needs, the first 6,000 gallons of monthly water use will not be subject to drought pricing,” said Lochhead.

A drought patrol will be out enforcing the rules. After an initial warning, fines will start at $250 for violations.

Colorado Springs Utilities also is limiting outdoor watering to two days per week, on designated days, starting Monday. Aurora Water is expected to make a decision on watering restrictions next week.


-- Other drought restrictions --

Aurora Water expected to announce restrictions on April 1st

Castle Rock Last week the City Council decided to limit watering to every third day from June through September.

Colorado Springs City Council approved Stage 2 Drought. Effective April 1, outdoor landscape watering is allowed two days a week on designated days.

East Cherry Creek Valley Water announced that irrigation season in 2013 begins on April 15, two weeks later than previous years. They also adopted a twice per week watering schedule for residential and small commercial customers.

Northglenn is encouraging residents to reduce their water use by 10 percent.

Parker Water & Sanitation has a voluntary 3 times per week watering schedule.

Thornton has declared a Stage 2 Drought and announced that turf watering will not be allowed until after April 15. Turf can be hand-watered occasionally before that if necessary, however. After April 15, turf watering is limited to twice per week.

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