District News Articles

    You no doubt have been hearing the escalating concern about drought conditions in Colorado. Recent snows have benefited parched metro Denver area landscapes, but have not significantly improved the snowpack our water system relies on. Stacey Cheney of Denver Water stated that there is still a big deficit of mountain snow that fills the reservoirs and that Colorado would need another 8 to 10 feet of snow in the high country to pull the state out of a drought. “If these conditions continue, we may face the worst drought in Denver Water’s history, and it is likely that by April 2014 we will be nearing the lowest reservoir storage we have ever seen,” Chesney said.
    Chesney’s statement is backed up by data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the federal agency that measures Colorado’s snowpack. "Unless Colorado sees weather patterns in March that bring well above average snowfall and precipitation to the state, there will not be much relief from the current drought conditions," the NRCS said in a statement. NCRS said the March snowpack measurement reflected a "nominal" increase, but the snowpack in the South Platte and Colorado River basins from which Denver Water receives water are 53 percent of average and 68 percent of average, respectively.
    Worse, the statewide measurement was just 83 percent of the amount Colorado had this time a year ago, when the state plunged deep into a crop disaster and weathered horrendous wildfires after a dry spring.
    Reservoir storage, the cushion against drought, also lags -- it is just 71 percent of average and continues to decline.
    “We've never seen conditions like this, and we are concerned about our water supply,” Jim Lochhead, CEO/manager of Denver Water, said. “Our reservoirs haven't been full since July 2011. We need our customers' help to reduce water use and keep as much water as possible in storage as we move through this year and into the next.”
    In response to this data, it is expected that Denver’s Board of Water Commissioners will adopt a Drought Declaration resolution at their March 27 meeting which will begin mandatory enforceable water restrictions and drought surcharges effective April 1.
    Watering Schedule
    Outdoor watering shall be limited to only TWO days per week on the following schedule:
    • Odd number addresses:          Wednesday and Saturday
    • Even number addresses:         Thursday and Sunday
    • Commercial:                                Tuesday and Friday
    There will be NO watering allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. any day and no watering of any kind on Mondays.
    Denver Water staff will be enforcing these watering restrictions and penalties will be assessed if a customer is found to be in violation of this schedule.
    Drought Surcharges
    There will be a drought surcharge assessed on water usage over 6,000 gallons per month beginning on customers’ June water bills for May water usage. The list below will show the amount of surcharge that will be assessed to customers’ water bills:
    •           0 - 6,000 gallons                                no surcharge assessed
    •           7,000 - 11,000 gallons                      $0.30 per 1,000 gallons
    •           12,000 - 30,000 gallons                    $0.60 per 1,000 gallons
    •           30,000 - 40,000 gallons                    $0.90 per 1,000 gallons
    •           40,000 + gallons                                 $1.20 per 1,000 gallons
    Denver Water hopes to obtain a 20% reduction in water use during this drought. It’s new water conservation slogan has changed from “Use Only What You Need” to “It’s a Drought, Use Even Less”.
    For useful tips for conserving water during this drought, please see the picture below.
    If you should have any questions, concerns, or would like to report water waste, please contact Denver Water’s Customer Care Department at 303-893-2444.