Summertime sprinkling restricted |

Summertime sprinkling restricted

Cliff Thompson
Lewis Atencio fixes the pattern of his lawn sprinkler at his Gypsum home.

You’ll know soon enough how tight watering restrictions in the upper valley will be this summer.We’re already at step 1 – a three-day-a-week watering schedule and no-watering Mondays. Today, the second stage of watering restrictions will take effect, prohibiting the watering of lawns between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The intent is to reduce water loss from evaporation. Free-running hoses are also banned under the tighter restrictions. Ignoring the regulations can cost you $100 for the first offense and $500 for the second and subsequent infractions. Repeated failure could result in a homeowner’s water lines being disconnected. The third step prohibits all lawn sprinkling, with the exception of hand watering. Lawn and agricultural irrigation is responsible for 70 percent of the water used in Colorado, experts say.”It all depends on the weather,” said Mike Bauer, water conservation specialist for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the local water provider. “If we have a reasonably normal summer, I would not expect us to go to stage three.”The district this week will more stringently enforce the watering restrictions, Bauer said.

“There’s still a lot of people watering on Mondays,” he said. Under the every-other-day watering schedule, street addresses that end in an even number scan start their watering rotation on Sundays; addresses ending in odd numbers begin watering on Tuesdays, Bauer said.It all boils down to how much water there is in the Eagle River. During the height of the 2002 drought there were fears that there wouldn’t be enough water in the river to operate the district’s water treatment plants.The highest level of restrictions will be triggered when the river, for a 72-hour period, run at 27 cubic feet per-second as measured at the gauge south of Minturn and 40 cubic feet per-second at the Avon water plant. There’s no danger of that happening for a while. The river Friday was flowing at 177 cubic feet per-second at Minturn and 1,010 at Avon. On top of that, there has been more moisture this spring and it has been cooler than in 2002, so mountain top snowpacks – though scant – aren’t melting as fast.The lawn watering restrictions are part of the new water conservation master plan for customers of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, which runs from Wolcott to Vail Pass and contains more than 22,000 people. Snowpack, which supplies 80 percent of the water to the state, is now at levels barely exceeding those during the drought of 2002, which was the worst in 300 years. At last count, less than 15 percent of the snowpack remains, meaning the rivers levels will soon drop.

The water master plan does more than enforce things. Its intent is to also provide education on water conservation measures that, combined with tiered water rates, will drive conservation, Bauer said. Tiered water rates charge users of excess water more.There are contingencies for homeowners who have new plantings, Bauer said, but they will need a special permit from the district.Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: or by calling 970-949-0555 ext. 450.==========================================Watering restrictions tighten Tuesday

• No watering Mondays• Every other day watering• No lawn irrigation from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.Additional sources:

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