From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Charles Ashby):
Because of the ongoing drought and no expectation that it will end anytime soon, the Ute Water Conservancy District is having to pump water directly out of the Colorado River.
That’s something it hasn’t had to do in its 65-year existence, district officials said Friday.
As a result, the district that supplies drinking water to more than 85,000 Grand Valley customers is imposing a special 2% “drought pumping rate” on all bills to cover the increased electrical cost of pumping that water…
Currently, the district rates the current drought at its highest “D-4 level,” which means extreme drought…
RESERVOIRS NOT ENOUGH
Normally, the district draws its water from snowmelt off of Grand Mesa, primarily through a Plateau Creek pipeline in a gravity-flow system, meaning it doesn’t need to be pumped. That water flows into two of the district’s terminal reservoirs, Jerry Creek No. 1 and No. 2, and then into the district’s water treatment plant.
A call on that water from water users with more senior water rights, however, is forcing the district to stop drawing from it, something that’s happened in the past, but never this early in the year, Clever said.
And because the water from the Colorado River is below the elevation of the treatment plant, by about 420 feet, it needs to be pumped uphill, which is done through two pump stations the district already has and recently upgraded…
USERS MAY SEE A DIFFERENCE
Despite the extra water treatment, consumers may notice the difference in how it tastes and the residue it leaves behind, such as mineral salts. They’ll see it with increased spottiness on their dishes and more residue in their swamp coolers.
Clever said the increase cost to consumers will be nominal, about 47 to 48 cents a month, or about $6 a year.