Boulder: City council is considering changes in city’s drought response plan

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (Heath Urie):

While the plan provides a number of ways for the city to regulate water during a drought — including restricting lawn irrigation, filling swimming pools and washing vehicles — a proposed change would give the city manager the ability to reduce water budgets during a drought.

Water budgets are set by the city based on the type of property and its expected water needs each month. Most single-family homes have a budget of 7,000 gallons a month, plus an allotment for outdoor water use. Commercial customers may have water budgets set based on average monthly use, three-month averages or custom evaluations.

Water budgets are connected to a tiered pricing structure, which the city began using in 2007 as a way to encourage water conservation. The rates include five tiers — ranging from $2.18 per 1,000 gallons to $14.50 per 1,000 gallons — depending on how much users exceed their monthly water budget.

The city’s drought strategy calls for reducing the overall amount of water that Boulder uses — including residential, commercial and government uses — by up to 40 percent during the most extreme water shortages. A “moderate” drought, the lowest level of an official drought declaration, calls for citywide water reductions of 8 percent.

Allowing the city manager to reduce water budgets during a drought is designed to be an easy way of reducing overall water consumption citywide. Additional regulations that are still in the draft stages would impose additional fines on customers who repeatedly go over their water budget during a drought.

More conservation coverage here.

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