The Cedaredge Town Board at its meeting on April 18 will consider adopting Stage I protocols of its Drought Response Plan.
The Stage I drought response is triggered by any of a number of indicators that are specified in the town's Drought Response Plan.
The most critical of those indicators as discussed by the trustees at an April 11 work session is the low water content in the Grand Mesa snowpack so far this year.
The snowpack needs to carry a water equivalent of 27 to 30 inches at the beginning of the runoff season to reasonably assure adequate supplies for the town's springs and backup reservoirs, and for other users both municipal and agricultural in the valley. A water content of less than 20 inches is a triggering factor in the town's Drought Response Plan.
As of last week, according to trustees, the snowpack contained about 17 inches of water. In addition, there was a big "water supply carryover deficit" from the previous dry year. That deficit was estimated by trustees at five additional inches which need to be made up this year.
"We're in a drought," remarked Trustee Ray Hanson.
Mayor Pat Means noted that homeowners may reduce and even eliminate lawn watering and use available supplies on shrubs and trees. "The grass will come back," she said.
The town's Drought Response Plan was adopted officially last September.
Other drought indicators in addition to the snowpack's water equivalent content are the following:
• Agricultural impacts to crops being reported in the local area.
• Conditions similar to the 2001-02 drought, but no immediate impacts to area domestic water providers are apparent.
• Statewide drought conditions may exist that affect area irrigators.
• Treated water usage may climb well over ten percent above average water years due in part to increased irrigation of gardens and landscaping.
The town's Drought Response Plan outlines several actions that can be taken at such time as Stage I drought conditions are identified. Those actions could include some or all of the following:
• The public works department would begin increased monitoring of the raw water collection system that brings the most desirable spring-fed supplies to town. If needed, increased maintenance will be done to ensure the system is collecting and transporting as much water as possible.
• Meetings with local water managers will be held to determine basin-wide conditions and to coordinate responses. The town would consider whether or not to lease any of its water to individuals or other users.
• The town government would initiate public awareness efforts focusing on specific suggestions of how Cedaredge water customers can reduce water usage.
The public awareness efforts would promote water conservation ideas including use of low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators; proper maintenance and efficient use of big water consuming appliances, especially including swamp coolers; promote conservation of outdoor water use by sweeping sidewalks and drives instead of hosing them; alternatives to use of above ground swimming pools; no use of ornamental water fountains; minimizing water use when washing vehicles, and other suggestions.
Weather conditions and patterns can change quickly and either improve or deteriorate the current snowpack conditions. A series of storm fronts had been predicted to move through this area into mid-week with the hope they would being more moisture-laden snow to the high country.blog comments powered by Disqus