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Aspen City Council Enacts Stage 1 Water Shortage
Aspen City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Tuesday, July 14 to enact a Stage 1 Water Shortage due to drought conditions in the Aspen area and 70% of the State in drought conditions including Pitkin County, according to a July 14 US Drought Monitor report.
The goal of enacting a Stage 1 Water Shortage is to decrease communitywide water use. The City of Aspen government will take mandatory conservation measures while Aspen water customers are asked to take voluntary conservation measures. Examples include less frequent outside irrigation, watering outdoors during morning and evening times only, and installing a rain sensor on irrigation controllers.
Stage 1 also includes a temporary rate increase for City of Aspen water customers with high water use, which amounts to a 25% surcharge on Tier 3 users and a 50% surcharge on Tier 4 users.
“Aspen is lucky to have an environmentally aware community that we can count on to reduce water use during this dry year,” said Steve Hunter, Utilities Portfolio Manager for City of Aspen. “The City will do its part by efficiently irrigating public spaces and being vigilant to avoid water waste. Due to minimal water storage and no back-up supply, it is crucial that the City responds quickly to drought conditions and that together we use our resource wisely.”
The City’s voluntary community efforts associated with Stage 1 are intended to conserve water and prepare the community for the potential of mandatory water restrictions if drought conditions worsen. In addition, on July 28 Council is poised to pass a new City of Aspen Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, which proposes that Stage 1 would have required rather than mandatory water use restrictions.
Irrigation represents the most intensive use of water for all Aspen customers and there are opportunities for Aspen water customers to participate in a free irrigation efficiency program. “During Stage 1 we want to help homeowners and landscapers understand that you can water the right amount so that your yard is beautiful without being wasteful of water and saving money,” said Chris Menges, Sustainability Programs Administrator.
More on the Stage 1 Water Storage can be found in the Water Shortage Ordinance Section 25.28.010. More on water saving tips and water saving programs at www.cityofaspen.com/drought.