Conservation: Water budget in the offing for Castle Rock?

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Here’s a release from the Town of Castle Rock via YourHub.com:

Town Council approved June 16 the proposed residential water budget, putting it on schedule to come back to Town Council for second and final reading July 7.

To encourage conservation and enable the Town to provide water at a reasonable rate, Town staff is proposing a water budget for residents. Conserving water is an important element in the Town’s Water Resources Strategic Master Plan, which was approved in 2006 and calls for the community to reduce water consumption by 18 percent. The less water used, the less the Town must acquire through purchasing from renewable water sources or pulling more out of the ground. The proposal calls for each resident to receive a personalized monthly water budget, based primarily on indoor water use, the square footage of irrigated property and each month’s historical evapotransporation rate. The budget is personalized for residents with up to 7,000 square feet of irrigated land. The average Castle Rock customer has an irrigated area of 2,700 square feet, and 96 percent of customers fall within the 7,000 cap. Those with more irrigated space will need to use stronger conservation techniques, such as xeriscaping, to hit their budget targets. Utilities staff will contact these larger property owners to work with them on what they can do to remain within their budgets. The proposal increases the threshold of when a customer is charged a conservation surcharge from 30,000 to 40,000 gallons per month, which will be of particular assistance to those with larger irrigated areas. “For the average customer, there will be no increase in their water bill,assuming usage within their water budget,” said Assistant Utilities Director Rick Wilkey.

The average residential customer – with the 2,700 square feet of irrigated space – use about 13,000 gallons of water each month during the irrigation season, and 5,000 gallons in off-season months. The plan also calls for an easier-to-read water bill, which will feature a 13-month historical graph showing water consumption at your address. The water budget is divided into four blocks. Block No. 1 is a single-family residential customer’s average consumption for December through March. Each April, the customer’s average consumption will be reset to reflect most recent consumption. The water budget allocated to Block No. 2 during irrigation season will be 80 percent of the amount of water required to maintain a maximum 7,000 square feet of irrigated area. Block No. 3 is consumption over water budget until reaching the 40,000-gallon threshold for the Block No. 4 surcharge. The water budget concept and how it is calculated can seem confusing, and staff is working to educate residents about the proposal. All Town residents should have received a large postcard inviting them to workshops designed to show residents how the water budget affects them and their water bills. The next workshop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 27, in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 100 N. Wilcox St.

Should Town Council give final approval to the budget, numerous water budget workshops will be held at multiple locations inviting residents to a more detailed meeting on what the new water budget rate structure means to them. Attendees will be provided an annual bill comparison for typical small, medium and large irrigated areas. This comparison will show typical usage and monthly costs for the 2008 rate structure as compared to the 2009 water budget rate structure. A limited number of residential audits also will be offered at no charge through Slow the Flow Colorado.

Town Council is scheduled to consider the water budget during its July 7 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 100 N. Wilcox St. The public is encouraged to attend to provide input.

If you have questions about the proposed water budget, call 720-733-6091 or e-mail waterbudget@CRgov.com.

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