Goal to reduce water use 25 percent
A 25 percent reduction in water use is the goal as local municipalities attempt to deal with a prolonged drought in San Juan County.
“If we can cut the amount of water we take from Loyds Lake, we could get out of the summer with enough water for next year,” said Monticello City Public Works Director Nathan Langston. “But if we don’t, we could be in real trouble.”
The city intends to encourage conservation, tighten watering restrictions and hope for the best as weather patterns continue to bring dryer than normal conditions.
In Blanding, officials are hoping that voluntary conservation will help the city extend its water storage.
“We are doing all we can to encourage people not to waste,” said Blanding City Manager Jeremy Redd. “Everyone needs to know that the water won’t last forever. It may be gone if we are not careful.”
The City of Monticello intends to supplement the mountain water with water pumped from a number of city wells. With decreased use, increased well water, and some luck, the city hopes to pump about 100 acre-feet of water from Loyds Lake in 2013.
That would leave several hundred acre-feet of water above the conservation pool for use in 2014.
The 25 percent cut in Monticello will also be the goal for the city. “This is a 25 percent cut across the board,” said City Manager Greg Westfall. “Including the city golf course, city parks and the cemetery.”
Langston said that water use has already dropped for the year. Through April, water use is about 12 percent below normal.
Water use increases dramatically with the secondary water system. From January through April in a typical year, city residents use just 16 percent of the annual water use.
More than half of the annual water use (57 percent) is in the middle third of the year, between May and August.
It is expected that the Monticello City Council will make a number of changes to policy at a May 14 council meeting. This will include extending the 10 am to 6 pm watering restrictions through the entire summer, outlawing secondary water use for agricultural purposes and asking residents to secure water for livestock from the Industrial Park rather than from the culinary or secondary systems.
Water pumped from the Industrial Park well will not be included in the 25 percent reduction goal. Industrial Park water is $4 for 1,000 gallons.
Westfall reports that a three-tiered system will be used for those breaking the law. The first offense will include a warning, the second offense a fine, and the third offense will involve another fine and shutting off the water.
A dry winter and spring has combined to contribute to a vey slow runoff in 2013. Langston reports that the Monticello system collected about 10 million gallons of water in April.
In 2002, the driest year in recent memory, the system collected 13 million gallons in April.
By comparison, more than 65 million gallons of water was collected by the system in April, 2007.