Water restrictions to go into effect May 1 in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Water restrictions to go into effect May 1 in Steamboat Springs

The snow-covered runs of Steamboat Ski Area are reflected in runoff near Walton Creek Road in Steamboat Springs. Officials in Steamboat Springs plan to enact Stage 2 water restrictions May 1.

— With no end to the drought in sight, Steamboat Springs has joined many other Colorado communities in announcing upcoming water restrictions.

The Stage 2 restrictions will go into effect May 1. The same restrictions were enacted last year on June 28.

Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District General Manager Jay Gallagher said imposing the restrictions earlier this year will be more effective in curbing the consumption of treated water.

"The May 1 date will allow landscapers, businesses and homeowners to set timers to the Stage 2 watering schedule right at the start of the season," Gallagher said in a news release. "Last year, it took three weeks for landscapers to reset timers for their clients in the middle of the season."

When reached Wednesday, Gallagher said plants and vegetation would not be as impacted by the restrictions because they would adapt earlier.

"If you integrate that schedule in the middle of the season, it can be a shock to the landscape," Gallagher said.

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The restrictions affect the four districts that provide water to the Steamboat area: Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, the City of Steamboat Springs District, the Steamboat II Metro District and the Tree Haus Metro District.

Starting May 1, no outdoor watering will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents who have an even-numbered address can water only Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Residents with an odd-numbered address can water only Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No watering is permitted Wednesdays.

In situations such as condo complexes with multiple addresses, the landscapers can choose which schedule to follow.

Among other restrictions, vehicles cannot be washed at residences and hard surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks and parking lots cannot be washed with potable water.

Because of the restrictions in place last summer, Gallagher said residents consumed about 15 percent less water.

Because of hot and dry conditions, the irrigation season started early last spring. In June, before restrictions were in place, Gallagher said residents consumed a record amount of water.

"June was the largest consumption on record," Gallagher said.

The Steamboat Springs Water Conservation Plan adopted in 2011 outlines when water restrictions will be put in place.

Among the criteria is when the snowpack at the Tower measuring site April 1 is below 80 percent of average. On April 1, the snow-water equivalent was at 64 percent of average. The snowpack rebounded a bit April 3 to 71 percent of average.

Among the other criteria, above-average temperatures are predicted from April to August. Below average precipitation also is being forecast.

According to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor, a majority of Routt County is experiencing extreme drought conditions.

In the Steamboat area, Fish Creek provides most of the drinking water. Gallagher said the reservoir fed by natural flows from the melting snowpack is expected to fill. The problem is that the irrigation season likely will be like last summer when it was four to six weeks longer. That means reservoir levels will begin to drop sooner than typical prompting the conservation efforts.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

At a glance

Stage 2 restrictions state:

■ Potable water shall be used for beneficial purposes and should not be wasted.

■ No outdoor watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

■ Outdoor watering schedule is based on the last number of the customer’s street address. Odd-numbered addresses can water Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays; even-numbered addresses can water Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. There is no watering permitted Wednesdays.

■ No vehicle washing at residences.

■ No washing hard surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks and parking areas.

■ No running outdoor water features.

■ No use of domestic water for dust control.

■ Limit the filling of swimming pools to one filling per year unless draining for repairs.

■ Permits can be secured for newly sodded lawns and newly planted trees for as many as 14 consecutive days and for newly seeded lawns for as many as 25 consecutive days with the exception of Wednesdays.

Tips for conserving water:

■ Avoid watering in windy conditions.

■ Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering hard surfaces. Set timers to avoid over-watering.

■ Water for three short intervals rather than one long interval.

■ When irrigating with a hose, use a spring-loaded nozzle rather than a free-running hose.

■ Cut your lawn no shorter than 3 inches to reduce soil moisture loss and to promote deeper roots.

■ Avoid planting trees and shrubs or sodding new lawns during the drier, hotter months.

■ Plant native grasses and shrubs or drought-tolerant species in place of water-intensive species.

Source: Community Water Conservation Plan