UCCS works to comply with new city water restrictions

April 22, 2013

April Wefler
awefler@uccs.edu

In an effort to end drought conditions in Colorado Springs, new water restrictions went into effect on the campus April 1.

UCCS is working with the city to comply with the restrictions, but less water may mean a shift in the watering schedule and browner lawns on campus.

“I’ve seen the data that shows where the reservoirs are up in the mountain and been up there and seen how unbelievably low they are,” said Gary Reynolds, executive director of Facilities Services.

“The Arkansas River Basin, which supplies southern Colorado, is at 76 percent of normal,” KOAA reported March 19.

“For this time of year, it should be right around 70 percent of capacity. Instead, it is just below 50 percent. In order to make up the difference, we would have to have 8 to 10 feet of snow between now and the middle of April,” reporter Bill Folsom said in the same broadcast.

According to the April 29 online issue of The Gazette, Colorado Springs is not the only place in Colorado with new water restrictions.

Woodland Park, Monument, Fountain, Manitou Springs and Cherokee Metropolitan District also put new restrictions into effect.

Last year, city water requirements allowed UCCS to irrigate three days a week. Now, according to the new city water restrictions, the campus is only allowed to irrigate two days a week.

“Obviously, since we were on three days a week last year and now we’re only on two days a week, our lawns are gonna be browner,” Reynolds said.

“We need to readjust to all the clocks and set on days we’re allowed to water and water between times that we’re allowed to,” he added.

Also according to the April 29 online issue of The Gazette, the new city water restrictions are as follows:

·         Residents will be able to water lawns and turf no more than two days per week.

·         Even number addresses will be able to water Sundays and Wednesdays.

·         Odd number addresses will be able to water Tuesdays and Saturdays.

·         Businesses will be able to water on Mondays and Fridays.

·         Watering will be prohibited between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

·         Residents will be restricted to watering for a maximum of three hours per day.

·         Outdoor watering with a drip irrigation system, handheld hose with a shutoff nozzle or handheld container is allowed for trees, shrubs and plants at any time.

     Reynolds said some of the restrictions pose a problem for the university. “We’re supposed to water on Mondays and Fridays, and that’s a challenge for us on Fridays because of an event Friday night on the West Lawn or Saturday.”

Reynolds said that in the past that the university has tried to schedule the sprinklers for a time when people aren’t walking across campus so they won’t get wet. He said that this might not be possible now.

“We’re working with Colorado Springs Utilities to stay within restrictions and honor restrictions but ask for some variances on things,” he said.

Specifically, UCCS is asking if it can irrigate on a day other than Friday. Currently, the university is in negotiation with Colorado Springs Utilities and still in the formal stages and application process.

“I’m sure they’re getting a lot of questions for variances,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he understands the need to work together as a community to support the water restrictions and make sure that there is water for everybody, especially when headed into another summer wildfire season.