The Fort Collins City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance imposing mandatory water restrictions. The ordinance was voted on because Fort Collins Utilities had suggested the city invoke mandatory restrictions to the City Council in order to conserve water for next year.
Laurie D’Audney, a spokesperson for Fort Collins Utilities, said the restrictions would force people to refrain from watering their lawn between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The restrictions would also limit how often individuals are allowed to water their lawn.
“Each address would be assigned two days a week to water,” D’Audney said. The purpose of the restrictions is to ensure that the city has enough water to last through next year.
“We’re not doing it for our water supply this year,” D’Audney said. “It seams like our water supply might be real crucial next year.”
Fort Collins gets half of its water from the Colorado Big Thompson Project, she said. Each city that gets water from the Big Thompson Project is assigned a quota that says how much water the city is allowed to use. However due to the recent draught, the reservoirs are lower than usual. Because of this, Fort Collins will not be able to use as much water next year.
“This year they (Big Thompson Project) set the quota at 70 percent,” D’Audney said. “Next year was the first year that they’ll be setting the quota by how much water they have available rather than how much water they need.” Next year, Fort Collins’ quota is expected to be between 30 and 50 percent. For this reason, Fort Collins Utilities decided mandatory restrictions would be necessary to conserve water.
“If we have some left over water from this year, we can carry it over to next year,” D’Audney said. “They’ll keep it in the reservoir for us.”
“We figure we’d better be conservative and plan for 30 percent,” she said.
Even if next year were to be considerably wetter than previous years, northern Colorado would still be dealing with water shortages for some time to come. “Even if it’s a really wet winter, (Fort Collins) still wouldn’t have a quota above 50 percent,” D’Audney said. She also said the word “draught” is a fairly ambiguous term and just because the weather might get wetter does not mean it would improve the water supply.
“If it starts raining we could technically be out of a draught, but that doesn’t mean our water supply will be where it should be,” she said. Because of this, it is uncertain how long the mandatory restrictions could last.
“We aren’t putting any kind of deadline on them,” D’Audney said. “So they might go through next summer or they might be revised depending on the conditions.”
Many CSU students said they felt mandatory restrictions were a good way to conserve water.
“Because of where we live, I think there should already be some restrictions on watering,” said Andrea Fellion, a junior physiology major.
Travis Hurr-Connole, a sophomore biochemistry major, agreed.
“I think it’s more important to have water to drink than to water your lawn,” Hurr-Connole said.