OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that we are in the midst of a severe drought (especially not if you’ve been reading this blog!). You may be surprised to find out that we are actually in a worse situation than we were before the 2002 growing season, the first time we had watering restrictions. But here is the scoop; we’ve had two consecutive years of severe drought and two consecutive years of low snowpack. This has left us with 1.5 years of “demand storage” in our reservoirs as of Feb 28 (and by “us,” I mean those who buy their water from Colorado Springs Utilities). The utility company likes to keep at least two years in storage, and they’re sure that if we have another summer similar to last year’s in precipitation levels and heat AND another winter with low snowpack, we will dip below one year’s storage if we don’t take action now. Hence they’re looking for all of us to use 30% less water outdoors than last year. So we will be operating under the stipulations of one of the drought stages outlined in the Water Shortage Ordinance, including water restrictions. (more…)


Twin Lakes Reservoir

Water restrictions are most likely coming to the Pikes Peak area – perhaps sooner than expected.

It’s no secret we’ve gone through a couple of dry winters recently, not to mention dry springs and summers. But for gardeners and homeowners in the Pikes Peak region, it’s the dry winters that most directly affect when we are under watering restrictions. The water that comes out of our hoses is supplied by Colorado Springs Utilities, for most of us. (And for those whose water comes from elsewhere, you are very likely to be under water restrictions when the rest of us are as well.) The majority of the water that comes through the Colorado Springs Utilities water supply system comes from snowmelt from the mountains along the continental divide. So dry winters affect how much snow melts and fills the reservoirs. Dry springs and summers also affect the evaporation of water in those reservoirs.

We’ve been given strong hints to expect water restrictions in 2013, unless something miraculous happens this winter. And not only that, to expect those watering restrictions to allow watering two days per week, not the three days we became accustomed to ten years ago. In addition to limiting the days homeowners can water, the restrictions usually come with the requirement for that watering to happen before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. – a wise strategy for watering in our area even without restrictions. (more…)