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Stage 2 Mandatory Water Restrictions will be lifted by the four water providers in the Steamboat Springs area-the City of Steamboat Springs, Mt. Werner Water District, Steamboat II Metro District, and Tree Haus Metro District-on September 30, 2018.
“Even with restrictions being eased at the end of the month, we are asking residents to continue to consider how they use water both inside and outside their homes,” said Frank Alfone, General Manager of the Mt. Werner Water District. “While fall brings less demand, we’ll be facing a similar outlook when spring arrives without some good rain, early snow and continued conservation by residents. So thank you for your efforts.”
Stage 2 restrictions were announced in mid-April and implemented on May 1 for the second consecutive summer. This season, spring run-off was accelerated, reservoir releases started a month earlier than average and the region saw higher than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for a majority of summer.
The community reduced its daily summer water use under the restrictions, helping Fish Creek Reservoir from dropping lower than its current levels. This was important as stream flows in the Yampa and Fish Creek also dropped significantly, resulting in mandatory river closures and a first ever call placed on the Yampa River.
As of September 24, Fish Creek Reservoir was at 60% capacity, which is similar to the previous 2012 drought season and 15% below the average level at this time for the past decade. At this time of year, the reservoir storage curve typically begins to flatten as the discharge rate is reduced.
During 2012, the reservoir dropped to around 30% in April which is likely again for April 2019 based on current trends. However, since 1965, there have been only two years, 1977 and 1981, that the snowpack on Buffalo Pass did not have sufficient snow water equivalent (SWE) to fill the reservoir. Fish Creek Reservoir requires approximately 26” of SWE to fill from empty.
“With current trends, Stage 2 could become the norm in the future as the districts look to manage water resources in our unique mountain environment,” said Jon Synder, Public Works Director for the City of Steamboat Springs. “We’ve been successful due to the compliance of residents and businesses; however, as we’ve all experienced, water is a finite resource and we will need to do as much as possible to ensure this vital supply remains flowing.”
Rebates for water-efficient replacement toilets, dishwashers, and clothes washers are still available for Mt. Werner Water customers by calling the Mt. Werner Water office 879-2424 or for city customers by calling City Hall at 879-2060.
For more information on water saving tips and a list of drought-resistant plant species, please visit the following websites: http://steamboatsprings.net or www.mwwater.com.
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