After one of the hottest and driest years on record for 2012, Denver Water is preparing for moving from Drought Watch to Stage 2 Drought Response. Denver residents will likely be facing water restrictions for this summer since this year’s snow pack is low and the reservoirs had already been impacted by last year’s lack of water fill to capacity.
Stage 2 drought means that the natural water resources are only between 35 and 75 percent capacity. This type of drought can have serious impact on farmers, and the public at large, if steps are not taken in advance to limit or restrict use on individuals and small groups. In 2011, Denver Water produced the Drought Response Plan. Using various measures, the plan is designed to protect the area’s natural resources by:
• Eliminate waste
• Restrict impact to individuals and small groups
• Limit adverse financial impact
• Communicate and get public support
With the already low precipitation the Denver area has seen, residents don’t have to wait until these restrictions are mandatory. It behooves our community to voluntarily restrict water use. With 50 percent of the average household water use going to outdoor landscaping, residents can make changes this spring that can help to limit water use:
• Landscaping changes can be made to reflect the natural high desert surrounding Denver
• Use surfactants, or wetting agents as farmers have done over decades
• Reduce indoor water use with low flush toilets, fewer and shorter showers, teaching children to turn water off during brushing teeth and other simple ways to reduce water waste
Through communication and personal responsibility individuals can work with Denver Water to respond to impending drought conditions. The Denver community can work together to help protect our natural water resource from waste and help to eliminate the obvious and negative impacts that water shortage can cause.