UPDATE: Glenwood Springs water restrictions in place until Wednesday, June 30
Following heavy rains and back-to-back debris slides Saturday and Sunday through Glenwood Canyon, the city of Glenwood Springs has issued water restrictions until 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 30.
“Keep water consumption to a minimum in your household or business,” a city release states Sunday morning. “No exterior water use including lawn watering, washing cars, and filling pools. Take shorter showers and please refrain from bathtub filling, running dishwashers, and washing machines.”
Restrictions were originally slated to lift at 8 a.m. Monday, June 28 but were extended following more heavy rain Sunday and another debris slide.
Sediment and debris in the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers have reduced how much water the city system can treat, and restrictions will help provide the time necessary to get the plant back to normal operations, Public Works Director Matt Langhorst said in the release.
“What we need right now is for everyone to keep water usage to a minimum until we are able to get our water tanks refilled and excess debris out of our water intakes so the water treatment plant can return to typical production levels,” Langhorst said. “For the most part, a starting point would be to use water like it is wintertime. Many of the water uses that take up the most water are outdoor watering activities. From there, consider opportunities to minimize business and residential water use.”
City employees have been working around the clock with engineers who designed the recent treatment plant upgrades to get the system back to normal, the release states.
“Due to outside water use like lawn watering, summer water usage has been about 4.1 million gallons a day,” the release states. “Typical winter water use is approximately 1 million gallons.”
Debris flow in No Name Creek
Glenwood Springs’ water infrastructure along No Name Creek “did perform as designed during the debris flow, (but) a large debris flow slid into No Name Creek up from our intake and has partially diverted the creek from its natural path. Debris flow damage, potential issues and repair plans are being evaluated,” the release states.
“The water arriving at your tap is still safe to use, but we need everyone to be patient and mindful today (Sunday) while we get back to normal,” Langhorst said.
The recent debris caused turbidity — or the cloudiness of a fluid — to increase dramatically this week.
“For a sense of how much debris we’re clearing, we currently have a turbidity reading of 500-600 within the plant, but yesterday we had a reading over 2,600 at the intake tunnel. A typical reading for our water source is less than 2,” Langhorst said.
The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality, the release states.
Emergency alerts and how to sign up
Residents who are signed up for emergency alerts from the city received automated calls around 5:30 a.m. Sunday about the initial restrictions and then another notifying them of the extension around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Anyone can register to receive emergency alerts and update contact information at http://www.garco911.com.
“We want to thank everyone for your patience and apologize for the inconvenience and early morning alert. This was a necessary, emergency action because outdoor water use continued through the night despite requests to temporarily suspend outdoor watering and irrigation use was drawing down the water storage at a rapid pace,” Public Information Officer Bryana Starbuck said in the news release. “We need to maintain a certain level of storage in the tanks to be sure we’re prepared to respond to fire emergencies and have sufficient water for indoor use.”
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