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Ute Water to pump from the Colorado River

Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 9:25 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Due to the severe drought in Western Colorado, Ute Water will begin pumping from a secondary source starting next month. This will result in a 2% rate increase to customers until the drought becomes less severe and the company can go back to solely pumping from their primary source at the Grand Mesa.

Up until now, the leading water source in Western Colorado, Ute Water, has pumped their water solely from their Jerry Creek source on the Grand Mesa.

“Mesa County is currently experiencing an exceptional drought which is the highest drought conditions that a community can experience,” said Ute Water external affairs manager Andrea Lopez. “Because of that our board of directors has chosen to start supplementing our water with Colorado River water. So we’ll be beginning to pump water from the Colorado River and blend it with water from our Jerry Creek reservoirs which are our preferred water shed.”

To recuperate increased costs associated with pumping from a second source, there will be a 2% rate increase on customer’s monthly bills starting in July. Ute Water’s normal system on the Grand Mesa is gravity fed, but pumping from the Colorado River station will incur electrical costs, which is the reason for the rate increase.

This is also a precautionary measure so we don’t run out of water.

“The reason why we’re blending is to help maintain those levels that we currently have in the Jerry Creeks,” said Lopez. “We are not in any danger of running out of water but this is a strategy that we’re utilizing to prevent getting anywhere near that.”

The water from the Colorado River is much harder, so there will be a slight difference in quality. Customers may notice a small change in the water hardness, some water spotting on dishes, as well as a difference in taste. But Ute Water assures the public that the water is safe to drink. They plan to mix the water from the two sources to lessen the effects.

Ute Water is not sure how long this rate increase will remain in effect. They tell us once the drought severity lessens and they can go back to pumping only from the one source on the Grand Mesa, that the rate increase will be lifted.

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