Denver Water gets it right on water rules |

Denver Water gets it right on water rules

The other day, we picked on Denver Water for throwing legal obstacles in the way of Summit County government’s water augmentation plan for illegal wells. The comment still stands.

Today, we want to praise Denver Water for maintaining strict rules for outdoor water use by the utility’s 1.2 million customers.

The board faced a lot of pressure to loosen the rules, in light of the good snows this winter. It held the line because reservoirs still need to fill, and who knows what kind of summer will present itself.

By July, Colorado could again be parched and the spring snows might be only a memory.

Denver Water’s hard line is notable, because last year, in the face of abysmal snowpack and summer drought, the utility was slow to issue mandatory restrictions. Reservoirs paid the price.

Why does Summit County care about Denver Water? Because Denver Water owns and operates Dillon Reservoir, its biggest storage facility. Most people think the reservoir is a lake. That perception took a beating last summer. The Dillon Reservoir dustbowl last summer was at least a strong object lesson in Western water reality. Denver Water also owns rights to about 65 percent of stream flows in the Upper Blue Basin. Denver currently diverts much less than its full allotment. Image if it used as much as it could. That’s why when Denver sets water policy, Summit County should pay attention.

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