Water conservation in the Grand Valley

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 8:13 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 12:03 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Conserving water is a hot topic right now as we are faced with this drought here in Western Colorado. As water quickly disappears in the west, what should we as a community be doing to help conserve water?

Right now we are under voluntary water restrictions, meaning water companies have informed residents to cut down on their water usage to prevent going into mandatory restrictions. However, we could enter mandatory restrictions as early as next month if certain guidelines are not followed.

“We’re currently in an exceptional drought in the grand valley so what we’ve been focusing on are voluntary water restrictions,” said City of Grand Junction Utilities Director Randi Kim. “So we’ve been doing a lot of education, just about the importance of water management and water wise practices.”

Currently the City of Grand Junction has a year’s worth of backup water supply in reservoirs on the Grand Mesa. But if they can’t get their customer’s to voluntarily conserve water, they may need to move into mandatory restrictions as early as next month.

“We’re currently working cooperatively with the other utilities in the valley, Ute Water District and Clifton water district, really trying to promote that voluntary watering restrictions,” said Kim. “Conserving as much water as possible so we don’t have to enter mandatory. But we are considering that if we don’t get everyone to participate.”

Mandatory water restrictions will mean the same practices, except the city will be monitoring who is and is not following the guidelines. So they can reach out to the customer’s who are not and enforce them. The purpose is so that the city can preserve the water supply to be used for essential basic needs such as drinking, bathing, or to be used in hospitals. But if everyone does their part to manage their water use better, we will not have to move into these mandatory restrictions.

The following are some good water practicing tips from the city. When watering your lawn, follow the 3,2,1 schedule. Meaning, in the summer months water your lawn 3 times a week. In the fall and spring, 2 times a week. And in the winter, once a week. The best time to water is after 6 in the evening or before 10 in the morning to prevent water evaporation. Also, when possible, washing your car at car wash stations instead of at your home as car wash stations use recycled water. Lastly, when running your washer, try to wait to have a full load before you run it.

“Each of the water utilities have different trigger levels and one of the trigger levels for the city’s water supply is the flow in our Kannah Creek watershed,” said Kim. “Currently we are getting our full flow that we can divert into our water system. But if those levels start dropping below our full flow and we’re not able to capture and divert all that water, that may be a trigger for us to move into mandatory water restrictions. And then we look at our demand.”

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