Drought news: Colorado Springs Utilities — Mandatory restrictions possible in 2013 #CODrought

From KRDO (Joe Dominguez):

The continuing drought is one concern but now utilities leaders are warning the Utilities Board and customers water use habits could also force the company to enforce restrictions for the first time since 2005. “The community’s water use is currently higher than expected,” someone tweeted from the Colorado Springs Utilities Twitter account during the regular board meeting Wednesday. “Mandatory restrictions possible in 2013.”

Yearly water usage was last measured by CSU in July. It found that 2,733.2 million gallons of water had been used by customers. In 2011 at the same time of year, water consumption was 2,509.1 million gallons.

From the Montrose Daily Press (Elaine Hale Jones):

As promised, irrigation water was shut off through the Gunnison Tunnel two weeks early on Monday by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, which manages the water. Early shut-off dates have not been uncommon throughout the long history of the irrigation project, according to association officials. “In 2002, water was shut down early due to drought conditions. It’s the same this year,” UVWUA manager Steve Fletcher said…

“Our main purpose in shutting the water off early is to conserve our stored water in Taylor Reservoir,” he said.
Located nearly 100 miles from Montrose in the northeastern end of Gunnison County, Taylor Reservoir was built to store spring run-off from the upper Gunnison River to be released and diverted through the Gunnison Tunnel late in the season when needed for maturing crops. Completed in 1937, the reservoir was a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Reclamation and the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association as the second major phase of the Uncompahgre Project, first implemented with the completion of the Gunnison Tunnel in 1909. The project is unique among similar projects in that 100 percent of the first fill is for irrigation purposes only, and the first fill rights are strictly for Uncompahgre Valley irrigation. Taylor Reservoir holds 21.2 million acre-feet of water.

From the Mancos Times:

The Mancos Board of Trustees has established an exterior watering ban until further notice. There is not enough water flowing in the West Mancos River to legally get water through the head gate from the river to the water filtration facility. The town has #3 priority water right, which means river water cannot currently be diverted to the filtration facility.

This means that the town has to use its backup supply that is stored in Jackson Reservoir. Currently the reservoir is only at 14 percent of its capacity and there is no water coming into the reservoir from the river. Therefore, we must conserve water because we don’t know exactly when the reservoir will begin to get water from the river again. The watering ban will be lifted when this situation changes.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The unofficial winner of the Routt County rain derby Tuesday night was the rain gauge located about eight miles west of Steamboat Springs, where a participant of Colorado State University’s volunteer weather-monitoring program recorded 0.34 inches of precipitation. Closer to Steamboat Springs, three other participants in CSU’s Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network posted measurements of 0.23, 0.26 and 0.19 inches. A rain gauge in Clark collected 0.15 inches of precipitation, and another just outside Oak Creek totaled 0.23 inches.

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