Rifle Residents Deal with Water Emergency, Officials Say More Restrictions Possible

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Monday and Tuesday, residents in the City of Rifle were under emergency water restrictions after a city tank ran out of water. Even though the problem is fixed for now, officials say it doesn't mean the city won't see more problems as they move into the summer months.

Rifle resident John Nevonen says when he woke up Monday morning, something wasn't right.

"I got up and there was no water in the house," said Nevonen. "I opened the facets and they were draining, so we knew there was a water break or something going on."

As it turns out, something was going on. City officials say a filtration issue and heavy water use by residents during a very hot week led to a huge problem at the city's water plant.

"A portion of our system was not able to keep up with the demand and a storage tank rand out of water," said John Hier, Rifle City Manager.

From 6:00am to 12:00pm Monday, hundreds of residents in the northeast portion of Rifle had no water in their homes. As a result, the city had to place a ban on all lawn watering and asked residents to use as little water as possible inside their homes through Tuesday night.

Tuesday, the city said the tank is full again and that restrictions would be lifted at midnight. But as more people continue moving to the area, and as temperatures continue to stay hot, officials say Rifle residents shouldn't be surprised if they continue to see more yellow signs posted around the city, listing water restrictions.

Hier says the current facility, which was built in the 1970s, has been giving the city problems for the last ten years.

"We're developing plans to either replace, or refurbish, or add on to those facilities within the next five years," said Hier.

But until that happens, he says with what they've seen this week, more restrictions may be in store as the city moves into the heat of summer.

"We're reviewing the necessity for possibly putting into effect some more permanent restrictions," said Hier. "But we've made no decisions on that at the moment."

Nevonen says while more potential restrictions this summer may mean his lawn won't be as green, he says he's good as long as he doesn't find himself in the same situation he did Monday.

"We have tremendous growth here," said Nevonen. "We're going to have to tolerate some of these things until bigger facilities are built."

City officials say there were no problems with residents following the restrictions and want to thank them for their help and patience.