Sep 032002
Authors: Erica Mirehouse

City officials trust Fort Collins residents and businesses to cut lawn-watering time in half this month and to voluntarily stop lawn watering on October 1.

“The city of Denver has mandated no lawn watering after October 1,” said Patty Bigner, customer connections manager for the City of Fort Collins utilities department. “We’re not going to enact another mandate since our customers have responded to our voluntary restrictions earlier this summer.”

“We believe that Fort Collins citizens are aware of the serious drought conditions and ready to help with further voluntary restrictions,” Bigner added.

The water shortage in Fort Collins has resulted from low snowpacks, low runoff, lack of precipitation and high temperatures.

“Until consistent cooler weather arrives, lawn watering will consume most of our city’s treated water,” Bigner said. “Shorter days and cooler nights are a good time to cut back on outside water use. We’re asking people to continue to focus on our goal of reducing use by 10 percent.”

For purposes of planning for the City of Fort Collins water supply system, a drought in Fort Collins has been defined as a period of low runoff from the Cache la Poudre River.

The flow of the Poudre, one of the city’s two water sources, has been at its lowest level since early settlers began keeping records in 1881.

Reservoirs in the Colorado Big Thompson Project, the city’s other water supply, are expected to drop to their lowest levels in history by the end of the summer.

These characteristics measure the region’s worst drought in recorded history. If snowfall this winter is low or average, dwindling reservoir supplies likely won’t recover enough to meet demand during the summer of 2003.

Any reduction in the amount of water Fort Collins customers use will help lessen the need for tighter restrictions next year.

That is why Bigner said it is important to continue to conserve.

Although people may still choose to water two days a week, as allowed by the mandatory outdoor water restrictions passed by the City Council in July, Bigner said late summer is a good time for further reduction.

“Voluntarily reducing lawn-watering time in each location of the yard will conserve considerable amounts of water,” she said.

“Hopefully people will realize that continuing to conserve will benefit everyone in the long run,” said Justin Beckman, a junior recreation and tourism major.

To cut lawn-watering time in half, residents and businesses just need to shorten the length of time sprinklers run in each part of the lawn and, if possible, reduce lawn-watering to one day a week.

“I will definitely comply with the new restrictions, if it means that water levels at the Poudre will be closer to normal next summer,” Beckman said. “Another summer without full use of the river would be even more disappointing.”

For more information on water restrictions and conservation visit

Or call the Water Conservation Hotline at 416-2666.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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