U.S. Water News Online
DENVER -- The town of Beulah has gone dry. There is no
water -- not a drop -- except in bottles, wells and a handful of
Some of the 900 residents of the unincorporated area have had to
order water deliveries from Pueblo, about 25 miles to the north, or
rely on bottled water. A few of the luckier ones are tapping small,
private wells. Many are praying for rain.
``We don't have any water. What can we do? People are going to
have to sort out their own problems,'' water treatment plant
co-operator Ken Wahl said.
Nestled in the ironically named Wet Mountains about 110 miles
south of Denver, Beulah is known for providing the distinctive red
marble at the State Capitol.
The town relies on several creeks for water, but all have dried up
as Colorado struggles through its worst drought in a century.
Officials don't have the money to haul the 70,000-80,000 gallons a
day consumers typically use.
``We'd have to have a fleet of trucks on the road every day,''
Wahl said. ``If we have rains, we can get the water back in a matter
of a half a day. We are in a kind of hand-to-mouth situation here. We
don't have a reservoir.''
The lack of water comes as afternoon temperatures often reach into
the 90s. Firefighters are worried that summer's typical thunderstorms
could spark wildfires.
Warmer-than-usual temperature and dry conditions had spread
drought to 36 percent of the 48 contiguous states by the end of June,
the National Climatic Data Center reported. Colorado and Nebraska had
their second-warmest June since statewide records began.
Beulah's Volunteer Fire Chief Ron Jones said the department has an
emergency water reserve set aside plus water in its seven tanker
trucks. Homeowners with swimming pools have offered to allow fire
trucks to fill up whenever necessary.
Meanwhile, residents, many of whom commute to Pueblo for work, are
making do as best they can.
The Beulah General Store is selling out of bottled water and had a
portable toilet installed to keep in compliance with laws requiring
that it offer restrooms.
``I am lucky enough to have a well. People without wells are going
to have to haul water from Pueblo or pray for it to rain,'' said
native Jim Bergeman. ``Four years ago, we had 20 feet of snow during
the winter. This winter we had none.''
Weather forecasts call for above-average monsoon rains sweeping in
from the southwest later this month. Such storms sometimes include
downpours that would tax the ability of the water treatment plants.
``We need a gentle, soaking rain, not the all-or-nothing Colorado
kind,'' said Bergeman.
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