Manitou Springs: Council has voted to put level one drought restrictions in place

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Here’s the release from the City of Manitou Springs:

Current Water Supply Conditions:

Due to the very dry conditions last fall and winter, current flows in French Creek will not support “normal” summer water demands. At this time (June 22, 2011), the City Council has voted to mandate Level One water restrictions. The City will continue to monitor daily water demands and the flow levels in French Creek.

Basis for potential water restrictions explained:

The watershed for Manitou Springs is located on the east area of Pikes Peak. Our reservoir gets its water from French creek. Manitou Springs has very senior “direct flow” rights to French Creek, but unfortunately a junior right for storage. As a result, we are virtually never allowed to store water. It is somewhat difficult to understand that we have a reservoir but cannot store the water but it simply means that if our reservoir goes down as a result of heavy water usage, we cannot refill it with French Creek. Instead we would have to work a complicated exchange process which consists of virtually taking water from the Pueblo Reservoir that the City has been allocated through the FryArk project, and exchanging it for water coming from French Creek into our reservoir. In simple words, we cannot refill the reservoir easily and if it is drawn down 1 foot we may need many months to recapture the loss. The decision to recommend water restrictions is made by Public Works and the City’s Water Consultant. Together, they determine how much water is coming into the reservoir from French Creek and how much water is going into the treatment plant. If the French Creek flow is less than the system water demand, then water stored in Manitou Reservoir would have to be used to meet system demands; this condition would trigger the decision to recommend water restrictions to the City Council. The City Council then has the right to declare the existence of a water shortage and announce the imposition of one of the following 4 restriction levels.

LEVEL ONE: Outdoor watering at properties with even-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and outdoor watering at properties with odd-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. During a Level One restriction, outdoor watering is permitted for a maximum of two hours on a day on which watering is permitted, and such watering is permitted only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. or between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Unrestricted hand watering and drip irrigation are permitted at any time.

LEVEL TWO: Outdoor watering of properties with even-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Tuesdays and Saturdays and outdoor watering at properties with odd-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Wednesdays and Sundays. During a period of Level Two restricted water use, outdoor watering is permitted for a maximum of two hours on a day on which watering is permitted and such watering is permitted only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. or between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Unrestricted drip irrigation is permitted at any time.

LEVEL THREE: Outdoor watering of properties with even-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Tuesdays and outdoor watering at properties with odd-numbered addresses shall be restricted to Fridays. During a period of Level Three restricted water use, outdoor watering is permitted for a maximum of two hours on a day on which watering is permitted and such watering is permitted only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. or between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Unrestricted drip irrigation is permitted at any time. No applications for residential water taps will be accepted during a period of Level Three restricted water use.

LEVEL FOUR: Outdoor watering is permitted only on the third Saturday of each month between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.; the filling or refilling of ornamental pools, hot tubs, and swimming pools is prohibited. No applications for residential water taps will be accepted during a period of Level Four restricted water use.

Historically, the City has never been at LEVEL FOUR water restrictions but was at LEVEL ONE for 3 months from May to July in 2002 then jumped to LEVEL THREE for 9 months from August 2002 until April 2003. We then went back to LEVEL TWO for 2 months and then to LEVEL ONE from July to December 2003. The last restriction was LEVEL ONE from May to September 2006.

More conservation coverage here.

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