Dillon, Dillon Valley impose water restrictions | SummitDaily.com

Dillon, Dillon Valley impose water restrictions

Lu Snyder

Water conservation tips –

– Interrupt watering when puddles or runoff occur, to allow water to penetrate soil before continuing irrigation

– Water drier areas by hand

– Consider drip irrigation around trees and shrubs, which allows water to flow slowly to roots, encouraging strong root systems

– Mow lawns as infrequently as possible – mowing increases stress on grass, which then requires more water

– Use a bucket instead of a hose when washing cars – one for soap and one to rinse

– Sweep walks and driveways instead of using water to clean

Courtesy of the town of Dillon

DILLON – Though most local municipalities don’t foresee water shortages this year, Dillon and Dillon Valley are worried they might.

The two communities depend on the same water source – Straight Creek and Laskey Gulch, which are running lower than usual this year.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Dillon town officials formalized voluntary water restrictions they said will go into effect immediately. Dillon residents are requested to restrict outside water use to the hours of 5 p.m to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Neighborhoods have been assigned alternate days for such water use.

Dillon interim Town Manager Eric Holgerson said the town hopes to reduce water consumption by 20 percent through the voluntary restrictions. And though there are no penalties for the program, Holgerson said town staff will monitor the water use of residents and businesses.

“We’ll be driving around and looking at the kind of cooperation we receive,” Holgerson said. “We may send notices to people if we see an abuse of voluntary restrictions.”

Holgerson said the town has begun to monitor creek levels, as well as water use – which, in May, was up 12 percent from May 2001.

The increased water consumption is most likely due to the warmer-than-usual May, which prompted many residents to turn on irrigation systems earlier than normal, Holgerson said.

June will be a better gauge of water levels and consumption, he said.

The town has an ordinance for mandatory water restrictions ready, if necessary. Council members are scheduled to determine penalties at their June 18 meeting. Holgerson said the town is exploring different levels of penalties depending on the violation.

“The last step may be shutting off somebody,” he said.

The earliest mandatory restrictions could go into effect is July 2, after town officials have reviewed June’s readings, which will give town officials a good indication whether the voluntary restrictions are effective, or if stiffer restrictions are necessary.

“We’re hoping conditions don’t go that way,” Holgerson said.

Dillon has 900,000 gallons of treated water storage, which is a little more than the amount used (approximately 800,000 gallons) on peak days. Dillon Valley has 600,000 gallons – just under the average daily use of 608,000 gallons during June 2001.

Neither Dillon nor Dillon Valley have raw water storage.

“Our raw water storage is what’s in that creek,” said Francis Winston, district manager of Dillon Valley water and sewer district.

Dillon Valley has not formalized a water restriction program, Winston said, but they are working with Dillon, since Dillon Valley shares the same water source.

Winston said officials are asking residents to conserve water and are distributing a brochure door-to-door today. They have yet to create a watering schedule as Dillon has.

“If we could see a 10 to 15 percent (reduction), I think we could feel successful on the voluntary side of it,” he said.

What will drive Dillon Valley to impose mandatory restrictions are water levels in Straight Creek, Winston said.

Even if the communities make it through the summer without imposing further restrictions, it doesn’t mean the worries end.

“I’m as worried about next year as I am about this year, in terms of available water,” Winston said.

According the Holgerson, creek water levels are usually lowest in January and February, so water concerns will flow into the winter and – if this year’s low snowfall repeats itself – possibly into next year.

The recently approved emergency water interconnect between Dillon and Dillon Valley with Silverthorne will not solve water woes either.

Though construction of the interconnect should be complete by the end of the summer, Holgerson and Winston said the water available through the emergency system is limited and not something to depend upon.

“It’s nice to have that option,” Holgerson said, adding it’s more likely the town would use it in the event of a major fire.

Though Dillon and Dillon Valley’s water conservation attempts were initiated due to local water worries, Winston said he believes the conservation effort should be statewide in this time of drought.

“I think we have a responsibility to pass as much water as we can downstream,” he said. “Part of that water goes to people who produce the food to feed us.”

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com

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