Wet spring causes Denver Water to delay drought pricing

DENVER - A wet spring has caused Denver Water to delay its proposed drought pricing for water use that had been scheduled to start in June.

However, Stage 2 drought watering restrictions remain in effect.

In a website post titled "What a difference the spring makes," Denver Water said while the snowpack feeding its Colorado River and South Platte River watersheds was below normal this year, a wet spring may well make up for it.

So Denver Water commissioners voted Wednesday to delay drought pricing until they see how well snow runoff fills its reservoirs by late June or early July.

"Depending on how much water makes its way to our reservoirs, we may be in a position to change our drought response from Stage 2 to Stage 1, which would remove drought pricing entirely," the state's largest water utility said on its website.

How much could you save if the drought pricing proposal is scrapped?

"An average summer bill for a single-family residential customer who doesn't use less water would increase about $6 a month with drought pricing in place," Denver Water spokeswoman Stacy Chesney told 7NEWS.

"But those who significantly reduce their water use would actually see a reduction in their bill," Chesney added. Under the drought-pricing plan, for example, single-family residential customers would pay nothing extra for the first 6,000 gallons they use each month because it's considered "essential use."

You can see how drought pricing would affect your water rates at the Denver Water website.

"The temporary drought pricing was scheduled to appear on bills beginning in June to encourage customers to use even less water and help reduce revenue loss to maintain our treatment and distribution system. We’ve seen customers use even less water, thanks to their savvy water-saving habits and letting Mother Nature take care of watering this spring," the agency said. "While it’s too soon to move to Stage 1 drought restrictions, we will continue to closely monitor conditions and remain flexible in our response."

The city of Arvada said Wednesday it is also delaying additional water-restriction surcharges.

"Due to the extraordinary moisture received in Colorado over the last six to eight weeks, Arvada residents will not see water restriction surcharges until at least July 1. This postponement of surcharges was possible due to unpredicted storms that none of the weather sources forecasted for our area," Arvada spokeswoman Wendy Forbes said in a news release.

Arvada plans to evaluate snowpack runoff and reservoir levels over the next month. If conditions improve, the surcharges could again be postponed or lifted, Forbes said.

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