NOREEN: Watering restrictions are here again

March 27, 2013
photo - A cyclist passes sprinklers in April 2006 at Washington Park in Denver. Watering restrictions will be imposed in Colorado Springs and Denver this year because of severe drought in the state. The Springs' restrictions will begin Monday. Photo by AP Photo/Ed Andrieski
A cyclist passes sprinklers in April 2006 at Washington Park in Denver. Watering restrictions will be imposed in Colorado Springs and Denver this year because of severe drought in the state. The Springs' restrictions will begin Monday. Photo by AP Photo/Ed Andrieski 

Because Colorado Springs residents soon will be subject to watering restrictions, does that mean they’ll be monitored by water police?

Or is that the wrong term? Should we call them the lack-of-thunderstorm-troopers?

Seriously, residents have many questions in the wake of the Colorado Springs City Council’s Tuesday decision to impose watering restrictions as of Monday. The council did it (the Denver Water Board also has imposed water restrictions) because this is the second winter in which the snowpack is meager, meaning that water levels in the city’s numerous reservoirs are far below average.

As The Gazette reported Wednesday “people with odd-numbered addresses will be allowed to water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Those with even addresses will be restricted to Sundays and Wednesdays and businesses will have Mondays and Fridays.”

Residential customers will have to limit their watering to no more than three hours from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. on their designated days

Quite a few readers wanted to know about golf courses in the city and whether fairways will get more water than homeowners’ lawns. Generally, the answer is yes, but not because there is an insider relationship between City Hall and golf courses.

Colorado Springs Utilities spokeswoman Patrice Lehermeier explained that private courses at The Broadmoor, Kissing Camels, Springs Ranch, Flying Horse — as well as the publicly owned Patty Jewett and Valley Hi golf courses — are charged according to a non-potable water rate. That means the water used on the courses is either pumped out of the ground or is delivered through the utility’s non-potable water system that is separate from the treated water most people use in their homes.

The city’s non-potable water is treated at the waste treatment plant, but not to a standard that is suitable for human consumption. The water is therefore cheaper and by re-using it, the city is extending its water supplies, not placing more pressure on them. Parks and golf courses using non-potable water get to water three times a week, Lehermeier said. Parks in the non-potable system include America the Beautiful Park, Memorial park, Monument valley park, the El Pomar Youth Complex, the Goose Gossage Sports Complex, Lunar park, Mary Kyer Park and the Mesa Springs Greenway.

Want to wash your car?

Lehermeier explained, “You can wash your car on your designated day or on Saturdays and Sundays.” Car washers must use a bucket or a spray attachment with a shut-off mechanism. Commercial car washes will not face restrictions.

Residents putting in new lawns can apply for a $50 permit to avoid the two-day restriction but will still have to keep their consumption under 2,000 cubic feet per month as measured by the water meter running to their homes.

Drip lines — often used in xeriscaping — are not subject to the watering restrictions. Drip lines can be extended to bushes, flower gardens or trees.

Watering restrictions are not new, but they haven’t been imposed since 2004. No one likes them and newcomers who have come from wetter climates may have something to get used to.

“It’s a transient population,” Lehermeier said. “A lot of people weren’t here 10 years ago, so this is new to them.”

That part about the water police? Don’t worry, there will be no thunderstorm troopers.

But if a neighbor complains about another neighbor, Colorado Springs Utilities will try a soft approach initially.

“We’re going to have field education teams,” Lehermeier said. “We’re going to try to educate first.”

If a resident persists in violating water restrictions and is caught after receiving a warning the resident could be subject to a $300 fine. A third violation and it’s $400 and it’s $500 for a fourth violation. Those fines are really theoretical because they have never been imposed, Lehermeier said.

On Tuesday the Colorado Water conservation board launched new web site, www.COH2O.coCQ, so people all over the state can check to see what watering restrictions may be in place in their communities.

Got a question? Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or at Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Hear him on KRDO 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. Fridays.


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