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Saving enough water for 5,000 Olympic Pools   

by  Pat Wells, General Manager of Water Resources & Demand Management  on  12/19/2019

Air Force Academy poolCity Council voted this afternoon to implement new Water-Wise Rules in Colorado Springs starting in 2020.  These rules are intended to encourage the wise use of water on an everyday basis, not just during times of drought or periods of water shortage.

We’ve encouraged the conscientious use of water for a long time and Colorado Springs residents are already among the most frugal water users in Colorado.

That said, there is more we can do to squeeze the most value out of every drop of water used. The new rules require us all to Hydrate Responsibly all the time-- making the wise and efficient use of water a way of life.

If you’re asking why, here are some things to consider:

  • We live in a dry, semi-arid climate where water is a scarce and precious resource. We must share these limited supplies with more than 40 million people living in the Western United States.
  • Communities across the Front Range and the region have adopted Water-Wise Rules over the past decade. These practices are now considered foundational to water use efficiency programs in Colorado and help increase our stewardship of every drop available.
  • As our region has weathered droughts, we’ve learned that we can maintain healthy, vibrant outdoor landscapes by watering three days a week, especially when we water smartly.
  • Every drop of water we save through this new conservation ethic will help us be better prepared for the next drought by improving the reliability of our system and potentially helping us avoid watering restrictions that are longer and more severe in the future.
  • Efficient use of water becomes increasingly important as our population grows and our weather and climate becomes more unpredictable.
  • In years when we’re not refilling the “water savings account” in our reservoirs, this saved water can be used to support environmental and recreational needs or be shared with agriculture through our water sharing agreements.
  • Ultimately, each drop of water we save acts like a new source of water supply, reducing or delaying our need to build new projects or acquire additional supplies.

Over the next 50 years, our community needs to save more than 10,000 acre-feet per year of water to meet our long-term water resource goals. That’s enough water to fill more than 5,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools annually.

By implementing the new Water-Wise Rules, we expect to achieve up to 10% of that Olympic-sized  long-term goal.

Borrowing a quote from Wilford Brimley, a wise, oatmeal-loving man from the 1980s, “It’s the right thing to do and the right way to do it.

So, now that I’ve discussed the “why”, what are the rules?

  • Limiting watering to three days per week. Irrigation will be allowed after 6 p.m. and before 10 a.m.
  • Establishment permits will be required when customers need an exception to these rules in order to establish new grass or plants.
  • Customers who need more flexibility within the water limits can apply for a water allocation plan.

We will be rolling out more details on the Water-Wise Rules in upcoming months as we complete the design and implementation phases of this new program. In the meantime, you can learn tips and tricks to use water efficiently on csu.org.

Thanks for Hydrating Responsibly and helping meet our community’s water savings goals.

 
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curious about enforcement

Saturday, December 21, 2019  10:46 AM  Mike

These new water restrictions, all most sounds like we need to save water because of all the new growth this town has ,maybe if we limited growth to a smaller pace that could save a lot of water but that would limit tax base , maybe pay check raises and bone-us checks !

Thursday, January 02, 2020  4:43 PM  Scott