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River drops as rains diminish

Cliff Thompson
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyMatt Woolford cast his line into the low waters of the Eagle River Thursday just west of Edwards off of Highway 6.
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EAGLE COUNTY – With the dog days of summer here, the flow of the Eagle River seems to be heading toward its rocky bottom, prompting water supply worries and possible water conservation measures.Wednesday at Avon the river was flowing 94 cubic feet per second. That’s still double the trigger flow of 40 cubic feet per second, but the river’s flow has declined nearly 30 cubic feet per-second in the last week as dry, windy conditions have replaced the monsoon moisture that appeared almost daily in June and July.

Stricter lawn watering restrictions will be imposed when the flows stay at 40 cubic feet per-second at Avon and 27 cubic feet per-second at Minturn for 72 hours. The wild card in the deck is how much it rains.”We’re flirting with it,” said Mike Bauer, water conservation specialist with the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, which supplies water and sewer service to 22,000 people in the eastern half of Eagle County. “My expectation is we’ll dip to that level but it won’t be long enough to trigger restrictions.”Those restrictions would cause the water board to enact a total ban on lawn watering and new planting. The present lawn watering schedule allows lawns to be watered three days a week.

“The weather is getting cooler at night and our demand for water had not been there compared to last year,” Bauer said. The peak single day demand for water was 6.48 million gallons on June 29, Bauer said. Water use this summer, so far, has not approached the level of water use last summer.The irrigation season, when up to 80 percent of all water demand occurs, will end Sept. 30.



Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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