U.S. Water News Online
BOULDER, Colo. -- The future water needs of the growing
Denver metropolitan area probably could be met by cutting down on the
bluegrass in new developments, plugging water system leaks and
charging more for water, a study has concluded.
Western Resource Advocates of Boulder analyzed water use and
prices in 13 southwestern cities, including Denver, Aurora and
Highlands Ranch, for two years.
At a minimum, cities should act to reduce significantly the water
used on laws, said Bart Miller, a water specialist at the Boulder
``Every city should focus on reducing outside water use because
it's where the largest volume of water is used,'' Miller said.
In metro Denver about 54 percent of all water is used to keep
lawns green, Miller said.
After the drought hit Colorado in the summer of 2002, several
Front Range cities acted to limit summer lawn watering to two or
three days per week. Surcharges for higher water use also were
But as the drought eased cities lifted lawn watering restrictions
and removed surcharges.
Miller said those limits, and surcharges, should be permanent in
order to save the most water.
In comparison to other cities, metro Denver is about average in
terms of year-round use, with residents using about 159 gallons per
day. Las Vegas residents use about 230 gallons per day while Tucson
residents use 107 gallons and El Paso homeowners use 122 gallons
The report recommends several water-saving measures state
lawmakers and cities could take to reduce water usage, including
lawn-rebate programs to encourage use of drought-tolerant plants and
grasses and allowing summer lawn watering only during early morning
and evening hours.
It also recommends charging more for higher usage.
``Our city recognizes the need for more conservation,'' said
Melissa Elliott, spokeswoman for Aurora. ``But we don't think that
could ever be enough to meet the total demand for water.''
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