Use only what you need in this warm, dry weather

March 28, 2012 - A relatively dry winter across Colorado and recent wildfires have some people asking about the water outlook for the summer.

“Spring in Colorado can be unpredictable, so it’s too early to say what our water outlook will be,” said Sally Covington, director of public affairs for Denver Water. “But we are concerned about how dry it’s been.”

As a result, Denver Water is asking customers to use only what they need as we move into spring.

“Customers’ continued conservation habits have made a huge difference in our water supply,” said Covington.

While Denver Water’s reservoir storage currently is above normal for this time of year due to 2011’s wet conditions and customers’ continued conservation habits, the utility asks customers to be mindful of the impact of dryness on supply availability, offering the following guidelines:

  • Check your sprinkler system for leaks — a lot of outdoor water use is wasted due to leaks in irrigation systems.
  • Hand-water your trees and shrubs.
  • Watering your lawn once a week or once every two weeks during this dry spell should suffice. To encourage deeper root growth and more drought-resistant lawns, water thoroughly once, rather than brief spritzes.

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado President Barry Wagner offers this advice: “It is crucial that homeowners check the amount of moisture in their soil before applying water to their grass. An easy way to test for soil moisture is to probe your lawn with a screwdriver. If it goes into the soil easily, that indicates sufficient moisture, but if the screwdriver can’t probe the soil, you want to apply water to that area.”

Denver Water always closely monitors area weather conditions and impacts on its water system this time of year.

“In 2002 we learned that reservoir storage is only one indicator of drought, and reservoir levels can drop quickly when we don’t get much snow and rain,” said Covington. “Droughts are always a reality in Colorado, which is why regardless of snowpack and reservoir levels, we ask customers to use water wisely.”

Following the drought that began in 2002, Denver Water nearly ran out of water in the north end of its system.

“The north end of our system, which is experiencing unusually dry conditions right now, is more susceptible to water supply problems during a dry year,” said Covington. “Without the blizzard of March 2003, we likely would have run out of water on that end. Earlier this winter we changed our operations and reduced the amount of water leaving the Moffat Treatment Plant — fed by Gross Reservoir, north of Boulder — to reserve more water in the north end of our system. We currently are in the permitting process to enlarge Gross Reservoir to help us avoid running out of water any given year and to help us put water where we need it.”

Updated: April 2, 2012


Denver Water proudly serves high-quality water and promotes its efficient use to 1.4 million people in the city of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. Established in 1918, the utility is a public agency funded by water rates, new tap fees and the sale of hydropower, not taxes. It is Colorado’s oldest and largest water utility. Subscribe to TAP to hydrate your mind, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Stacy Chesney/Travis Thompson

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