With a combo of windy, dry and warm conditions for our Wednesday afternoon, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for all counties along and east of the I-25 corridor between 12pm and 7pm this afternoon. PLEASE no outside burning, and if you see smoke, report it as soon as possible! Head over to the Weather tab for more information on the rest of the week.
On Wednesday, the Colorado Springs City Council heard a proposal for a new water usage plan. Colorado Springs Utilities made several recommendations for restrictions for the upcoming planting season.
Essentially, residents would begin this season where they left off last season, with Stage Two Restrictions. That allows for outdoor watering only twice a week.
City Council members say they want to attack the water problem more aggressively than they did last year. That's why they'll likely vote to start with the Stage Two Restrictions.
Last year, the planting season started without any water restrictions. "We weren't even at Level One, which was voluntary restrictions. So we're ahead of the game already by entering the watering season at Level Two."
Right now, residents are only allowed to water once a month. But the plan is that on April 15th, people will be able to water twice a week. "I think people are used to that. They'll be, in most cases, watering on the same days as they were before, and I think that that will be a very consistent message for people."
But the April start date means some planting time could be lost. "This year, because the restrictions will go into effect April 15th, we do lose some time between March 15th and April 15th---we lose a good planting season."
Another major change announced Wednesday involves turf permits. This year, they will be called "establishment permits" and will cover the establishment of any new vegetation, including turf.
If the water outlook doesn't significantly improve, permits will not be issued between July 1st and August 31st, because those are the hottest months of the year. And that could impact the landscaping industry. "It's important for us to understand what that could mean for the local economy and that's our job as we go forward."
Changes are on tap for Pueblo, too. Starting March 1st, residents can water twice a week.
For more information: Colorado Springs Utilities web site