Colorado Springs city council has voted to restrict outdoor watering to two days a week, starting April 1. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, they also adopted new drought water rates intended to persuade customers to reduce usage.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Colorado springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte told council members now is the time to act. The area is experiencing an unprecedented water shortage, and Forte says the utility needs more tools to encourage conservation.

“If we don’t do the right things this year, it could potentially put next year in serious jeopardy. And then we won’t be talking about lawns that are brown, we’ll be talking about vegetation that can’t be watered at all outside.”

Under the new rules, Residential customers with even numbered house addresses can water Sunday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Saturday if it’s an odd number. The restrictions apply to sprinklers, but drip irrigation and hand watering is allowed any time. The price of water will also temporarily double for residential use over 2,000 cubic feet. Utilities officials say 75 percent of customers typically fall below that level.


First violations would draw a warning, while a second violation could incur a $300 fine.

 

4 Responses to Water Restrictions Set for Colorado Springs

  1. volcheff@msn.com says:

    I applaud all efforts to conserve water and support responsible, environmental efforts. I understand water users who exceed the monthly maximum of 2000 CF will have to pay double rates on water used. Two questions. 1). This goes into effect on April 1 but my water meter was last read on March 25. How does Springs Utilities account for those 6 end of the month days before water rationing went into effect and the next time they read my meter where I could be over 2000CF?

    2) On the Springs Utilities side of the issue, the utility is obviously not paying double for the water they provide me over 2000CF so the whole point is trying to modify my behavior. I got it. However, when utilities makes a windfall profit from penalizing folks that exceed 2000CF each month, what are their intentions to use that windfall to initiate or improve their conservation efforts. In other words, where does the money go they get from penalties they assess on water users?

  2. Ben says:

    I’m pretty sure my apartment complex has been running the sprinkler on back to back nights. Also the system froze and burst earlier allowing a lot of water to escape. But they brake the total bill up among tenants. Where I’m from you couldn’t get away with this system but it seems that’s common here. They have zero incentive to fix leaks. I’d report them for over watering but I’m sure they’d just add the fine to our bill.

  3. abc says:

    Year after year it seems we are faced with water shortages. Water rates in Colorado Springs are rediculously high. As a result, we are expected to be satisfied with ugly yards and so ugly communities. Eventually our city will be covered with crushed rocks as landscaping because people can’t afford to water their lawns and so grass and trees just die. If it didn’t have the mountains, Colorado Springs would be an ugly city, all because our city leaders do such a poor job of securing water resources. Whatever happened to the water that was to be piped in from the Arkansas river? If we have the water rights, why aren’t we getting the water?

  4. Janet Peirre says:

    Has anyone taken a look at our city lately? It looks horrid!! The area I live in has always been lush and green and now the grass is partly dead and even trees are dieing!! Watering two days a week was needless and our city is going to hell thanks to our city council and utilities company. There will always be those that will try to get away with extra watering in every city. The double fines are ridiculous given all the people out of work. It’s going to cost the residents even more to have to replant grass etc once this is lifted. It’s time to vote out the new city council as it looks like they’re not going to do anything about it either!!

News

AP
April 18, 2014 | NPR · The death toll surpasses what had been the single deadliest day on the world’s tallest mountain. Officials say all of those killed were Sherpa guides.
 

Reuters/Landov
April 18, 2014 | NPR · More than three days after the ferry capsized, nearly 270 of those who were on board remained missing. Most of them are high school students. Cranes will try to lift the ship, which is now submerged.
 

AFP/Getty Images
April 18, 2014 | NPR · As the president prepares to travel to Asia, the White House says a trade deal would boost U.S. exports. But opponents say the Trans-Pacific Partnership would hurt the environment and U.S. jobs.
 

Arts & Life

AFP/Getty Images
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Also: Exiled Romanian poet Nina Cassian has died; the real title of Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming memoir; Gary Shteyngart retires from book blurbing.
 

Courtesy of Joan Chase
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Joan Chase’s 1983 debut During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is a careful, layered account of a troubled family in rural 1950s Ohio, narrated by a quasi-Greek chorus of daughters and cousins.
 

April 18, 2014 | NPR · In her memoir, A Fighting Chance, Warren reveals a childhood brush with bankruptcy and reflects on hard-won political lessons.
 

Music

Redferns
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Can you identify a song when it’s stripped down to a just few seconds of isolated drum pounding? This week’s puzzler comes courtesy drummer Sean Carey, otherwise known as S. Carey.
 

April 17, 2014 | NPR · Aimee Mann and Ted Leo began performing together in 2012, when Leo was Mann’s opening act. Mann began joining Leo onstage during his set. Their debut album is “The Both.”
 

Courtesy of Republic Records
April 17, 2014 | NPR · The Secret Sisters’ new album, Put Your Needle Down, displays their sophisticated, timeless sound and the country-twang influences of their hometown, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab