Nov 192002
Authors: Patrick Crossland

Despite the onset of winter, water conservation remains a concern in Fort Collins.

Slightly ahead in efforts to conserve water, city officials are asking community members to avoid indoor water waste.

“Our community did a good job cutting back on outside water use this summer, and our water reserves are slightly ahead of prediction,” said Michael Smith, general manager of the Fort Collins Utilities Department.

Yet, the endeavor to conserve in what has become the region’s worst drought in recorded history remains in the hands of the public.

“Most irrigation is done now, so it’s mainly indoor water use,” Smith said. “I hope they don’t slack off, but we are encouraging (consumers) to do more.”

Experts say indoor water conservation starts by altering wasteful lifestyles and changing daily habits.

“Try to reduce the amount of water we use on our daily habit,” said General Manager of Fort Collins-Loveland Water District Mike DiTuillo. “We need a whole paradigm shift. We need to change the way we think and view our community. It’s all a quality of life issue.”

With the onset of winter months, outdoor watering tapers to a minimum, contributing to a decrease in water consumption. Summer water restrictions accounted for a 12 percent reduction in demand, but according to DiTuillio, “It’s indoor water usage that hammers us all year long.”

According to ELCO General Manager Webster Jones, indoor water usage accounts for 50 to 60 percent of water consumption.

Jones said if consumers participate in indoor water conservation, Fort Collins could see an improvement of 10 to 15 percent over a month if usage remains low.

“It all depends on how invested people become,” he said.

ELCO is participating in a campaign to alert consumers of water waste and indoor water conservation. The “Save 5 Gallons a Day Campaign” includes a series of ads sponsored by the city and ELCO, among other organizations.

“We’re trying to raise awareness and encourage cutting back on indoor water use,” Jones said.

He said ads ran in the Coloradoan will give people a specific measure of what there actions result in. For example, the ads might show how many gallons of water are used in a five-minute shower or in brushing teeth.

The goal for the campaign is to encourage community members to cut back on water usage by five gallons.

According to a relase from Fort Collins Utilities, if each resident saves five gallons a day, Fort Collins will conserve a total of 300 million gallons – enough to fill Moby Arena nine times.

DiTuillio said each community member has an obligation to conserve water and that it’s as simple as turning off the faucet while brushing or shortening showers.

“Everyone has an obligation on their own part to be informed,” he said.

When asked how college students might help conserve water he said to shorten showers, TiTuillio said, “They’re notorious for hot showers, they love ’em.”

Water conservation tips from Fort Collins Utilities:

1. Find and repair leaks such as dripping faucets. Replace old washers and test toilets by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank and checking for color in the bowl.

2. Water-saving devices, such as low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, are inexpensive and effective at saving water. Placing a brick in your toilet tank reduces the amount of water used every time you flush.

3. Turn off water while brushing or shaving, take shorter showers or bathe in half a tub of water.

4. Run the dishwasher only when it’s full and do small loads by hand. Don’t rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, just scrape them. Rinse fruit in a filled sink rather than under the faucet.

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