After several votes, the Colorado Springs City Council has approved a new water saver ordinance. On Tuesday, members heard the first reading on regulations that will determine how and when customers will water this summer.
If it passes on second reading, this season, we will start off exactly where last season ended with Stage Two water restrictions and twice-a-week watering.
There was a lot of back-and-forth at City Council Tuesday. Three motions failed, before a majority could agree on what water restrictions should look like. But here's what they came up with:Starting April 15, Stage Two, Level B water restrictions start. Homeowners will be able to water twice a week on an "odd/even" schedule.
"City Council made a very responsible decision regarding the water shortage ordinance." This man wanted restrictions to start off even stricter, then let up, if enough water is available. "I think we can start slow, and then we can put it down a little faster if resources are available."
Colorado Springs Utilities ran through several different models to study water usage, and engineers have looked at the forecasts. CSU official Anna Seder says they are confident that starting at Stage Two Level B is the appropriate approach in mid-April.
Many of those against water restrictions work in the so-called "green industry"---landscapers and turf growers. If they can't plant sod, they can't make money. And one version of the ordinance threatened to take away as much as four months or half of their season.
"That's part of the reason we have a lot of fear about going into this year is that we only lost a month last year and lost 20 percent of our normal season," said Craig Giesbrecht of the Green Belt Turf Farm.
But after a lunchtime compromise, the "green industry" was able to get back one month. Giesbrecht says it's not a huge victory, but one they can live with. "That's exactly what were in this for right now is survival, and this today is one step closer to that for sure."
The second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for March 25. If it passes, the new water schedule will begin April 15.
For more information, go to the Colorado Springs Utilities web site: Water Saver Program
Extended Web Coverage
Colorado Springs Water Restriction Stages
- WATER SUPPLY NORMAL – Use water wisely.
- Storage levels in local reservoirs are adequate to meet customer demand. Customers should use water wisely.
- Conserve water where possible.
- Storage levels in local reservoirs are lower than normal.
- should conserve water where possible to reduce water use by least 10 percent.
- Hydrant permits will be limited to essential purposes, including but not limited to, dust mitigation and supplying water to construction sites where water service is unavailable. Not withstanding the foregoing, the issuance of a hydrant permit during a declared shortage shall be conditioned upon use of a positive shutoff valve to minimize waste of water.
- Colorado Springs Utilities and the City of Colorado Springs facilities will water only every other day.
- The use of all public and private water features is prohibited except hose using recirculating water.
- Water on designated day only. Storage levels in local reservoirs are very low.
- Both voluntary and mandatory measures will be implemented to reduce water use by at least 20 percent.
- Take measures recommended in the NORMAL STAGE and STAGE I restrictions.
- STAGE III WATER SHORTAGE – Emergency actions necessary.
- Storage levels in local reservoirs are critically low.
- Only essential water will be used. Mandatory conservation measures will be implemented to reduce water use by 50 percent.
- Take measures recommended in the NORMAL STAGE and STAGE I and STAGE II restrictions.
- Indoor industrial and commercial water use shall be reduced by an amount, to be determined by Colorado Springs Utilities, in relationship to the severity of the drought, which amount shall not exceed 15 percent.
- No additional water taps will be allowed.
- The use of water for cooling or air conditioning shall be restricted to that amount of water necessary to maintain a minimum air temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit, for personal comfort.
- Outdoor watering shall be prohibited except for limited irrigation to sustain large trees of at least 6" in diameter, measured at the base of the tree.
- Washing of motor vehicles, trailers, boats and other types of equipment shall be prohibited, except that such washing may be done by a commercial car wash to the extent it utilizes only recyclable water.
Source: www.csu.org (Colorado Springs Utilities Web site) contributed to this report.