#Drought news: Grand Junction imposes mandatory watering restrictions

Grand Junction back in the day with the Grand Mesa in background

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Amy Hamilton):

In what may be the first time ever, the city of Grand Junction on Tuesday imposed mandatory outdoor water use restrictions, as the ongoing drought has drained area reservoirs and rivers that will struggle to refill if the state endures another dry winter.

The city’s roughly 9,700 domestic water customers can only water lawns and gardens and use outside water three times each week for the remainder of August. Indoor water use is not restricted.

Residents can only water twice a week in September and once a week in October. City officials dubbed the water program 3-2-1 to help residents remember to scale back the weekly days of water usage in the ensuing months.

Residents can choose which days of the week to water outdoors.

Water providers across the Grand Valley are supporting Grand Junction’s efforts, but no other mandatory water restrictions were set in place Tuesday for users who receive water from the Ute Water Conservancy District, the town of Palisade or the Clifton Water District.

Low reservoir water levels, extreme drought and extended hot weather conditions, combined with a lack of monsoonal wet weather usually seen this time of summer, contributed to Grand Junction’s decision to call for mandatory water restrictions, said Randi Kim, city utilities director.

“What we don’t want is if the drought continues and we don’t have the runoff in the spring, we’d be tapping into our water reserves,” Kim said. “We want to be sure we have enough water to carry over into the next year.”

Grand Junction, like other local water providers except Clifton Water District, obtains its water from Grand Mesa. Grand Junction receives most of its water from Kannah Creek, which typically runs at 60 cubic feet per second. The creek now is running at 8 cfs and the city is barely able to get its full allotment of 7.8 cfs, Kim said.

Kim said reservoir levels are as low as they were during the 2012 drought, but city officials had been waiting for forecasted monsoonal, wet weather before considering stricter water restrictions this year. When the late summer monsoons didn’t materialize, city officials opted to instate the mandatory restrictions.

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