On August 21, the City of Grand Junction announced mandatory outdoor watering restrictions for all customers who use City of Grand Junction water for irrigation. The recommended outdoor watering schedule was implemented in a 3-2-1 format which entails restricting watering to three days per week in August, two days per week in September, and one day per week in October.
Since the implementation of those restrictions, City water consumption has improved dramatically with 33.1 million gallons saved overall since restrictions were implemented as compared to last year at this same time.
City Utilities Director Randi Kim noted, “The water savings that we have seen so far exceed what we expected. Our customers are taking water conservation seriously and we are pleased to see that. Everything that is done now to conserve will help with next year’s situation. We are hopeful we will be seeing normal winter precipitation to even further improve our conditions. We are certainly not out of the woods, but every drop helps.”
The series of events and decision points that lead up to the decision to implement mandatory water restrictions was as follows:
- Winter 2017-18 – Very low snowfall amounts seen over the winter. The best snow water equivalent reading in our watershed last winter was only 59% of normal. Only 1977 and 2002 were lower.
- Spring 2018 – Low precipitation trend seen during the winter in Western Colorado continued and the Grand Valley’s drought status had deteriorated to level D2 “Severe Drought” as defined by the National Drought Mitigation Center.
- May 4, 2018 – The Drought Response Information Project (DRIP), a cooperative effort between Grand Valley Water providers, held a press conference to notify customers of voluntary water restrictions being put in place in light of our D2 drought classification.
- Week of July 10, 2018 – Due to the continued lack of precipitation and above-average temperatures, the Grand Valley was moved into the D3 “Extreme” drought classification. DRIP members began discussions regarding mandatory water restrictions, but were hopeful that the US Climate Prediction Center’s forecast of above-average monsoonal precipitation starting as soon as July 16 would provide relief. 2018 actually had the earliest onset of monsoonal precipitation in the western US since records were kept, but it did not benefit Grand Junction.
- August, 2018 – Although above average-monsoonal precipitation continued to stay in the long-term forecast, the anticipated precipitation did not materialize. Significant evaporation due to fewer cloudy days and temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal on the Grand Mesa was being observed in the City’s water storage reservoirs.
- August 21, 2018 – The City of Grand Junction announces mandatory outdoor watering restrictions and encouraged all water users to adopt the 3-2-1 outdoor watering schedule.
For additional information on City of Grand Junction Water Services, visit the web page at https://www.gjcity.org/residents/water-services/.
Contact: Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager 970-244-1507 or firstname.lastname@example.org