City of Aspen enacts mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history
August 14, 2018
For the first time in history, the city of Aspen has declared a stage 2 water shortage.
Due to extremely low water levels due to low snowpack and little summer precipitation, Aspen City Council approved the move at its regular meeting Monday.
“After a warm spring and summer, conditions have deteriorated, so we are recommending a stage 2 shortage,” said Margaret Medellin, the city’s utilities portfolio manager. “We are asking people to be thoughtful about their water use.”
She said that it’s a result of a reduced snowpack from this past winter and she expects stage 2 restrictions to remain in effect indefinitely.
“We really need a good snowpack this year,” Medellin said.
Council enacted a stage 1 water shortage in May, which was all voluntary restrictions.
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Stage 2 comes with mandatory restrictions for all Aspen water customers, including no watering lawns more than three days a week and no more than 30 minutes per sprinkler zone per day.
Restrictions also include no watering native areas more than two days a week and no watering lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and at any time when it is raining.
There cannot be any watering of lawns, landscaping, or amenity resulting in ponding or the flowing of water onto paved surfaces. There also will be no washing of sidewalks, driveways, patios, tennis courts and parking areas.
“Violations will have consequences,” Medellin said.
Violators will be issued a notice to correct the infraction. If it’s not corrected, a first offense carries a $500 fine. If it’s blatant, the first offense can carry a $500 with no correction notice. Subsequent offenses could result in additional $500 fines or disconnection of water service.
The goal is to protect the health of Castle and Maroon creeks, which are running at only 30 percent of average for August, while maintaining Aspen’s municipal water at levels that can meet customers’ demands.
Stage 2 further increases billing rates for the highest water-use customers. These rate changes will be from 50 to 75 percent based on which category the customer’s water use falls into (tier 3 or 4).
The city continues to offer free sprinkler efficiency assessments and equipment upgrades to community members, focused on high-water users.
To learn more about the restrictions and what stage 2 means, join city staff at the picnic tables outside of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association at 590 N. Mill St. from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday.