Following the Drought of 2002, the four Grand Valley municipal water providers; City of Grand Junction, Clifton Water District, Town of Palisade and Ute Water Conservancy District collaborated and developed a “Drought Response Plan”. The collaboration between the Valley’s four domestic water providers actively responds to the Valley’s drought conditions from year-to-year. Within the Drought Response Plan, the “Drought Response Information Project’, or DRIP, was identified as the means to provide information to educate the public about the importance of water conservation and how to reduce water use.
In June of 2012, as a result of extreme drought conditions, DRIP placed the Grand Valley domestic water users under Stage I Drought. Following the announcement of Stage I Drought, the community was asked to voluntarily reduce their outdoor water usage; such as ornamental fountains, swimming pools and water consuming landscapes. The Grand Valley remained in a Stage I Drought throughout the winter of 2012 and the spring of 2013. Water officials proactively started preparing for Stage II Drought as snowpack levels constantly fell below average across the State of Colorado.
Spokesperson for Ute Water Conservancy District, Joseph Burtard, stated “The Grand Valley water providers and their governing bodies have taken a proactive role in managing our water supplies and storage. Had they not been so proactive in their foresight, then we, like many other water providers across the State of Colorado, would also be enforcing mandatory water restrictions at this time. That’s not to say that mandatory water restrictions will not be coming down the pipeline as we move into the warmer months.”
The Drought Response Information Project released a statement on Friday, April 26th, reminding the Grand Valley community that we are still under a ‘Stage I Drought’ status. For the past several weeks, water officials were debating whether or not to place the Grand Valley under a ‘Stage II Drought’ status which would mean mandatory water restrictions and a water rate structure to encourage water conservation for municipal consumers. Many communities across the state are already under some level of mandatory water restrictions. While the recent spring storms and cooler temperatures have helped our local snow and soil moisture content, we are continuing close observation and monitoring of the local water situation, in both the domestic and irrigation arenas.
The Drought Response Information Project will remain under a ‘Stage I Drought’ status for the next several months. There are several triggers that could cause water officials to immediately move into the ‘Stage II Drought’ including: a significant drop in reservoir levels, calls on the Colorado River by senior water right holders and inefficient use of our limited supply. Consumers are asked to be cautious about using treated water for outdoor use as well as using their irrigation water in the most efficient and effective manner to help conserve our most precious resource – WATER.
For additional information on the Drought Response Information Project or for more details about the two stages of drought, please visit www.thedripwebsite.com.