Strict water restrictions are now in effect.
This means as of Monday morning, watering your lawn and outdoor plants is now limited to three hours twice a week.
The decision came last week after the Colorado Springs City Council passed the water shortage ordinance. Water restrictions were recommended by Colorado Springs Utilities, which says if people reduce their watering to two days a week, they'll get close to the goal of using 30 percent less water between April and October than last year.
The restrictions come at a time when the Pikes Peak region is parched from months of drought condition.
This is what you need to know :
You will be limited to watering two days a week for three hours on those days.
It will depend on your address- those ending in odd numbers can water on Tuesday and Saturday; those with even numbers on Sunday and Wednesday.
The time for watering will be from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.
If you don't comply with the new restrictions you will first get an education letter, then a warning. The third strike will be a fine of up to $500.
"If we had not done these, had both the tariff and the water shortage ordinance have failed today and we would have continued on the path we were on," says Wayne Vandershuere, General Manager, Water Services, "we would have dropped below one year demand and storage probably would have been coming back later this summer or next year with no outdoor watering restrictions"
There are different restrictions for commercial property and this will not apply to businesses who solely rely on water to survive. Businesses water Monday and Friday.
There will also be exceptions for those living in the Waldo Canyon burn area. They will need to apply for a re-establishment permit and prove significant fire damage.
The restrictions go into place on Monday, April 1.
The second ordinance, imposing a water shortage tariff, passed Council vote unanimously.
The tariff basically is a fee. If people need to use more water, they can, but will pay a lot for it. It’s set up on a tier system. Most people fall under the second tier, and this won’t apply for them. But for those with tons of landscape or irrigation needs, if they use over two-thousand cubic feet of water a month, you will have to pay more.
Most Springs residents tell us they understand the restrictions and the need to conserve. They say when living in Colorado during drought conditions, it’s a sacrifice we all have to make.
"I think most people understand our water situation. It doesn't mean it's gonna be easy, but we're just gonna have to muster up and help out,” said Shelley Thomas.
"I think it's a good idea. I think we have to be mindful of our resources that we have. We have limited resources and need to use them wisely,” said Patty Reisinger.
But some think the news laws a little too strict.
One person says they are not going to plant as much this year or will xeroscape because of the restrictions.
"Unfortunately it's necessary but I wish it wasn't. We've already lost our lawn to drought because of water restrictions before,” said Bill Robinson.
And some think the restrictions would not be necessary, if people thought about conservation all the time.
“I think if people wouldn’t wash their cars on their driveways, and let the water run down the curb, or if they would adjust their sprinkler heads where it just waters the grass, instead of the sidewalks and the streets, I think we would have a little bit more water, and CSU wouldn’t have to do these restrictions,” said Springs homeowner Ron Verhey.
Our own Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe says the best way to keep it green is to be smart about watering.
"If you water late at night and early in the morning, when it's cool and there is less wind out there, that's gonna help you out a ton,” said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe also suggests:
-Aerate your yard right away-allowing moisture into the soil
-Fertilize less-using more potassium than nitrogen
-Make sure your sprinkler heads are working properly
It’s also important when mowing your lawn, to raise the cutting deck.
“Everybody wants the lush putting green look out there on the lawn, but when you heat it up like that and you can’t water it, it’s just tremendously dries out the grass and it will scorch, and your lawn will go from looking green, to almost dead,” said Bledsoe.
Springs Utilities has a calculator on its website to help us track how much water we use. Click here to view.