Denver Water, Aurora Water begin water restrictions, citing drought conditions

DENVER - Denver Water and Aurora Water began water restrictions Monday, citing the worst drought conditions since 2002.

Denver Water, Colorado's largest water utility, declared a Stage 2 drought last month and 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.

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.

 

-- Other drought restrictions --

- Aurora: The Aurora City Council on Monday night passed a resolution declaring a Stage I drought and implemented two day-a-week watering restrictions in effect until Sept. 30, Aurora Water spokesman Greg Baker said in a news release.

Under the Aurora restrictions, street addresses that end in an odd number will water Wednesdays and Saturdays, and those that end with an even number will water on Thursday and Sundays. Aurora’s drought restrictions do not include surcharges or other fees, Baker said.

As of Monday, Aurora’s reservoirs were at 47 percent of capacity, a level not seen since the drought of 2002, Baker said. Snow pack conditions are not promising, barely exceeding 2002 depths.

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

- Colorado Springs: Effective April 1, outdoor landscape watering is allowed two days a week on designated days.

- East Cherry Creek Valley Water:  Irrigation season begins on April 15, two weeks later than previous years. They adopted a twice per week watering schedule for residential and small commercial customers.

- Fort Collins: Level 1 water restrictions begin today. Lawn watering allowed two days per week -- even residential addresses on Thursday and Sunday, odd residential addresses on Wednesday and Saturday and commercial/businesses, multi-family and HOA on Tuesday and Friday.

- Northglenn: Encouraging residents to reduce their water use by 10 percent.

- Parker Water & Sanitation: Voluntary 3 times per week watering schedule.

- Thornton: Turf watering not allowed until after April 15. Turf can be hand-watered occasionally before that, if necessary. After April 15, turf watering is limited to twice per week.