GLENWOOD SPRINGS — City of Glenwood Springs officials are not to the point of needing to implement outdoor watering restrictions, as other area municipalities have had to do in recent weeks amid ongoing drought conditions.
“We’re in better shape than we were last year, so we’re not in a panic position by any means,” said Jerry Wade, manager of the city’s Red Mountain Water Treatment Plant.
But that’s not to say a few simple conservation measures during the hot summer months won’t go a long way to keep from having to put any restrictions in place, he said.
“We want people to know that we appreciate anything they can do or are already doing to help us avoid water restrictions,” Wade said. “If they could continue, and maybe even step up their water conservation applications, that would sure help.”
Some local cities and towns, including Rifle, New Castle and users of the town of Silt’s raw water ditch system, are now on odd-even watering day restrictions.
Glenwood Springs has a domestic water management plan in place that calls for a mix of voluntary and eventually mandatory restrictions, including limits on outdoor water use, depending on the severity of drought in a given year.
But, since the plan was implemented in the aftermath of the severe drought year of 2002, the restrictions have never been enacted by the city, Wade said.
One reason is that city residents do a pretty good job already of conserving water during the summer months on their own, without being told to do so, he said.
“I’m really not in favor of water restrictions if we can avoid them,” Wade said. “My experience is that watering restrictions actually have a reverse effect, and people seem to water more on the days they are allowed to water.”
Should it become necessary, the city’s water management plan outlines both voluntary and mandatory measures to reduce water usage between 10 percent and 50 percent, depending on whether drought conditions are considered mild, moderate or severe.
Mostly, though, the city has been able to rely on public education efforts to encourage water conservation all year long. City operations also aim to limit water use on parks and other public areas, Wade said.
Unlike the other municipalities and special water districts in the Roaring Fork Valley that rely on water from the Roaring Fork and Crystal river watersheds for their domestic water supplies, Glenwood Springs draws its water from the Flat Tops, via No Name and Grizzly creeks.
The Flat Tops region this past winter had a better snowpack than other parts of the Colorado River Basin.
Water-saving tips and landscape management suggestions are posted on the city of Glenwood Springs website (www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us), and will also begin running on the local community access cable Channel 12.
Also avoiding watering restrictions so far this summer has been the town of Carbondale.
“The river is still flowing pretty well for us,” said Carbondale Public Works Director Larry Ballenger of the town’s water source, which primarily comes from Nettle Creek off the flanks of Mount Sopris, but also draws from well systems on the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers.
“We are a little different, because we have a really nice [raw water] ditch network in town, so we don’t have the impact on our treated water that other communities have,” Ballenger said.