Drought worries driving water conservation efforts
The greatest water usage in Eagle County occurs during the summer months when irrigation of lawns and outdoor areas drives consumption.
This year the snowpack that melts to fill area streams is about half of normal, leaving the area with the driest year since 1977.
How best to conserve water around your house is no mystery. Like many ventures, it’s a sum of its parts. Information on what to do and how to go about it is available from the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the largest water supplier in the county.
Watering your lawn is the greatest expenditure of water for most homes.
It takes 1.5 inches of water per week on average to keep a lawn healthy.
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For a hypothetical lawn measuring 100 feet by 100 feet (10,000 square feet, or just under a quarter of an acre), it would take 53,607 gallons of water a month. Most homeowners overwater by 25 or 50 percent, according to a water conservation sheet distributed by the district.
Water conservation measures will be in place this summer. Users served by the district, those who live in Vail, Eagle-Vail, Avon, Arrowhead, Bachelor Gulch, Wildridge, Beaver Creek, Cordillera, Berry Creek and Edwards, will be observing an odd-even watering schedule. Homes with street addresses ending in an even number may water Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those with odd numbers may water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No watering will be allowed Mondays.
If you’re not all that excited about mowing and maintaining a green, water-loving lawn, you can “xeriscape,” or “dry garden.” This consists of choosing plants that survive and thrive in dry conditions, using organic mulches that minimize evaporation and minimizing areas of turf that need extra water.
The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District is facing a potential shortfall in its ability to meet summer water demands this year because of the delayed completion of a new water plant in Edwards. It will come online in the autumn, after the peak demand has passed.
For that reason, there will be a ban on planting new sod or seeded lawns within the district from June 15 through Aug. 15.