Mark Ruckman: Why restrict water?
July 10, 2015
On April 15, the four local water districts announced water restrictions due to low snow pack and a forecasted dry summer.
I have a personal weather station that tracks data year over year, and last year on this date (in Steamboat) we had 11.49 inches of moisture (rain and snow melt) and no water restrictions. This year, we have 15 inches of moisture, and restrictions are still in place. This paper reported in June the May storms boosted the local snow pack to 98 percent of median. Since the end of May when we tied 2014's moisture total, I've been wondering when the city is going to lift the water restrictions. Today, I reach out the Steamboat water department to inquire why the restrictions are still in place, and I was told, "At this point in time, the four area water providers (city of Steamboat Springs, Mount Werner Water, Tree Haus and Steamboat II Metro District) plan to leave the watering restrictions in place through August."
I have lived in dry areas, and I understand the need to be water wise. In the future, I think people will openly talk about being "blue" for water conversation in the same way they talk about being "green" today.
If the agenda of the city and the local water districts is to truly reduce water usage, why not discuss these agenda with the public instead of leaving water restrictions in place to further your agenda(s)? These types of actions only reduce public confidence in your abilities to manage and lead into the future.
In closing, I suspect many people are wondering how we can have water restrictions when thousands of gallons of water are being pulled daily from the Yampa and being sprayed on the ski jump at Howelsen Hill. This use of this water by the city violates the rules published in the water restrictions.
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