Centennial Water OKs drought restrictions

Starting July 20, residences' watering will be limited to two days a week

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As expected, the Centennial Water & Sanitation District Board of Directors voted to move into Stage 1 drought restrictions during its July 6 meeting.

Discussions regarding the new designation started in June. The board was slated to approve the new designation at a June 27 board meeting but not enough voting members were present.

The drought restrictions apply to those living in the Centennial Water service area, which includes the communities of Highlands Ranch, Solstice and Northern Douglas County Water & Sanitation District.

Centennial Water is encouraging customers to cut outdoor water use by 15% to 20%. To help achieve this, Centennial Water is implementing the Stage 1 outdoor watering restrictions beginning July 20.

Under the Stage 1 designation, outdoor irrigation will be limited to two days per week in accordance with Centennial Water’s adopted watering schedule. Residential customers with odd-numbered addresses can water on Sundays and Wednesdays; even-numbered addresses can water on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

For a complete schedule, including multi-family and commercial irrigation customers, visit centennialwater.org.

“Sometimes we have to take steps in the short term to protect against the uncertainties of current drought conditions,” Centennial Water General Manager Sam Calkins said in the press release. “Moving into Stage 1 restrictions is an example of this. Implementing water conservation measures now not only helps with current conditions but will also better position Centennial Water as it moves into another potentially dry year in 2023. We’re asking everyone to come together as a community to help conserve water so future restrictions are not needed.”

According to the July 11 news release announcing the decision, the company said in its 40-plus year history, Centennial Water has been proactive in securing water resources and obtaining surface water storage rights to adequately serve the community. 

According to the release, a key factor in Centennial Water’s success in conserving the resource is utilizing a conjunctive use system, which combines supplies from both surface water and groundwater to meet water demands of the community.

“We are proud that over the past 25 years, 90% of the water supplied to our customers has come from renewable river supplies,” said Board chairman Jeff Kappes. “As Colorado and the Western United States continues to move through a multi-year drought, this step taken by Centennial Water to move into Stage 1 water restrictions is consistent with our history of taking progressive steps in maintaining the portfolio we started more than 40 years ago.”

Prior to elevating to Stage 1, Centennial Water stayed under the “Drought Watch” designation through 2021 and the start of this summer.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Douglas County has been in drought conditions since September 2021, and as of July 5, 2022, Centennial Water’s service area is in moderate drought conditions.

Centennial Water staff and board members have kept a close eye on drought conditions that are warmer and drier than normal, pushing the board to make changes this summer.

Centennial Water’s storage reservoirs have continued to drop. As of June 21, they were at 37% capacity, which is 30% less water in storage than the average for June over the past 10 years.

Last year in May, data provided by the water district, had Centennial Water’s reservoir storage at 6,782 acre-feet, or 39% of the 17,200 capacity. The median storage level for May over the last 10 years has been 9,495 acre-feet.

Water districts measure water levels through acre-feet, which is about 326,000 gallons, which would cover a space about the size of a football field one foot deep.  The Colorado State University Extension estimates that a typical household uses about half of an acre-foot of water a year.

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