Fourteen Front Range water utilities met this month to collaborate about the locally dry conditions and the potential drought situation ahead. Centennial Water & Sanitation District — the water and wastewater provider for Highlands Ranch and Solstice — was at the table, according to a news release from the district.
“The Drought Coordination Group reconvenes when drought conditions worsen, as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor,” said Swithin Dick, water resources administrator for Centennial Water, according to the release. “The objective is to coordinate and offer cooperation around local water utilities sharing ideas, tools and messaging.”
According to the latest drought monitor (droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), released Feb. 11, Douglas County is currently experiencing exceptional drought conditions. When looking at Colorado, the entire state is experiencing some level of drought from moderate conditions to exceptional, according to the release.
“As part of our annual planning we look at our water resources including water storage in reservoirs, groundwater supply, and estimating potential runoff from snowpack,” said Dick, according to the release.
Centennial Water’s storage capacity is below average going into March. Over the last five years the district’s average at this time of year has been 8,489 acre feet and it is currently at 5,750 acre feet. To put that in perspective, the average demand annually by Centennial Water customers is 16,500 acre feet.
“April is when we find out where we are at,” Dick said in the release. “Things do not look good at this point. We are beginning to plan now for a low runoff year, which puts us on a drought watch.”
Centennial Water relies on spring precipitation and runoff to boost its water storage, but the reality is that might not come this year, according to the release.
“Centennial Water staff are working diligently in case the dry conditions continue,” said General Manager John Kaufman, according to the release. “We are in a drought and we are taking steps now in anticipation of a dry summer. We are asking customers to start conservation planning and taking steps at home to use water more efficiently.”
Small things that can be done at home include checking for leaks throughout the home and being patient with outdoor watering, according to the release.
“Water budgets for outdoor irrigation begin in April; there is no reason to turn on irrigation before then,” added Kaufman, according to the release.
Water conservation tips, information and the latest news from Centennial Water are available through the monthly Water eNewsletter. To sign up, customers can send an email to email@example.com.