Here’s an excerpt from the latest article in The Pueblo Chieftain’s Colorado Water 2012 series (Zachary Stanifer):
Just 10 short years ago our business felt the full effects of the scarcity of water. Restrictions in the use of water crippled our spring planting business. Even the most avid gardeners cut back the amount of plantings they installed that year, having no guarantee that they would have the water necessary to nurture their plants. While most of what we grow is not essential to a person’s livelihood, I would argue that the simple joy found in fostering a vegetable plant to harvest or a flower to bloom in your favorite color is priceless.
It is vitally important to our community that water remain plentiful and reasonably priced. There have been great efforts put forth in the last decade to educate residents on proper water use and it is finally starting to sink in. A recent article stated that Pueblo’s water use has dropped to levels not seen since 1980, even with adding more taps. This has resulted from a new mindset in landscape usage: Water established plantings for longer periods but less frequently. This develops a more robust root system, requiring less water over time and actually increases the overall health of the plant. We have made many changes in our greenhouses in the last three years to water our crops more efficiently. We have installed regulators and timers to ensure that we are using only the water that we need to use. We use more water in June than any other month of the year. With the upgrades in water applicators we used only one-third of the water in June 2011, compared with June 2009. This decrease in usage was significant since we were actually growing more plants in 2011.
Over the past six years we have increased our plant offerings that are better suited for our climate. These heat tolerant, lower water use plants are essential in the Pueblo landscape. They are often easier to maintain and require much less “prodding” to establish than other thirstier plants. As we begin to utilize more sustainable ornamental plantings we allow ourselves the opportunity to free up more water for the growth of our wonderful city.
More conservation coverage here.