U.S. Water News Online
DENVER -- Landscaper Eric Schultz pleaded with city water
officials to consider the impact on jobs and business if they limited
outdoor watering again this year for more than 1 million homes and
``It's putting a lot of people out of business,'' Schultz, owner
of Schultz Industries, said at a packed meeting of Denver Water Board
Commissioners said they understood, but with reservoirs at 44
percent capacity, about the same as a year ago, they voted to
restrict outdoor watering to two hours twice a week.
Residents who use excess water face surcharges. The rules take
effect May 1.
Schultz told commissioners his income declined $1 million last
year from $6.5 million, forcing him to lay off 30 workers. The
restrictions may prompt more layoffs, he said.
Schultz and other landscapers said the restrictions effectively
prohibit new sod or lawn seeding.
Commissioners said the March blizzard that dumped up to 8 feet of
snow in many areas was a tremendous boost, but it wasn't enough.
``We went from a question of whether there would be lawn watering
to how many times a week,'' said Marc Waage, the board's water
resources engineer. ``It made a huge difference for all our
Other cities along the Front Range have imposed restrictions
similar to Denver's.
In Aurora, where reservoir levels are about 25 percent of
capacity, residents will be allowed to water twice a week, one hour a
day. Planting trees and shrubs is prohibited.
In Colorado Springs, residents will be allowed to water twice a
week, up to three hours a day. Pueblo adopted voluntary restrictions,
thanks to a near-normal snowpack.
Waage said Denver reservoir levels could increase to 79 percent by
July 1 with the runoff from the snowpack, if spring precipitation is
average. The estimate is 66 percent if the spring is dry, he said.
Under the new rules, industrial companies, other commercial users
and city parks must reduce water consumption to 70 percent of their
2001 use. Golf courses must cut water consumption in half.
The board increased surcharges for violators. The surcharge will
range from 25 cents to 75 cents per 1,000 gallons in excess of an
allotted amount. That amount depends on the size of the household and
the severity of the drought.
Commissioners said they would reassess the situation in May.
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