Dillon moves to mandatory water restrictions
DILLON – The Front Range isn’t the only place imposing mandatory water restrictions – the town of Dillon is following suit.
Dillon town officials were hoping for a 20 percent decrease in water consumption when they began voluntary water restrictions in early June. But water meter readings for June indicate water use was reduced only 5 percent compared to the same time last year.
The apparent lack of cooperation with the voluntary restrictions, added to the low water levels in Straight Creek, provided the impetus for Tuesday’s decision.
According to interim town manager Eric Holgerson, town staff has been using a USGS gauge on Straight Creek to monitor water levels.
“It showed that the current flows are approximately 8 percent of the last 15 years averaged, which is very low,” Holgerson said.
Dillon and Dillon Valley are dependent on Straight Creek for water. Neither area has much more than a day’s worth of treated water in storage. Dillon has 900,000 gallons, which is a little more than the 800,000 gallons used on peak days. And Dillon Valley has 600,000 gallons – 8,000 gallons less than the average daily use during June 2001.
Dillon council members recently updated the town’s mandatory water restriction ordinance so they could levy penalties through customer water bills rather than via the courts. They approved those updates Tuesday night.
Holgerson said town officials plan to keep the current watering schedule when they switch from voluntary to mandatory restrictions July 17. Dillon business owners and residents will be required to restrict outdoor water use to between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Neighborhoods have been assigned alternate days for water use.
“We’ll send notification to everybody in the town of Dillon that this will be going into effect,” Holgerson said.
First-time offenders will receive a written warning. From there, however, penalties increase incrementally with each offense. A fourth offense will result in a $500 penalty, and by the fifth time, the public works department has the authority to shut off water; additional fines would then be determined in court.
“I think the town council wanted to be proactive on this, now that they know Straight Creek is flowing very low,” Holgerson said.
Though most municipalities in Summit County are urging residents to conserve water, Dillon is the first to impose mandatory water restrictions this year.
Across the lake, Frisco has requested its citizens to accept a voluntary ban on outdoor water use. Town officials there are asking residents to avoid watering between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., when high temperatures and wind increase water loss to evaporation.
Copper metro district and Dillon Valley officials have asked their residents to restrict their water use as well.
Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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