Phippsburg enacts mandatory water restrictions

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At a glance

Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District water restrictions

■ Homes and businesses with odd-numbered street addresses can water their lawns and gardens on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Customers with even-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No one is allowed to water Wednesdays.

■ No outdoor watering of any kind between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

■ No vehicle washing at residences.

■ No washing of hard surfaces such as driveways and parking areas.

— Mandatory water restrictions now are in place for the small South Routt community of Phippsburg, and nearby Yampa may follow suit.

The Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District announced the measures Monday, citing historically low flows in the Yampa River combined with a long-term forecast that predicts continued drought conditions.

“The restrictions are necessary to ensure that adequate water is available to serve the domestic needs of Phippsburg residents this summer,” Routt County Department of Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said in a news release announcing the restrictions. “As you know, Phippsburg’s water supply is dependent on flows of the Yampa River. As the river drops, we will find it increasingly difficult to process enough water for all uses.”

The restrictions are similar to ones enacted for Steamboat Springs municipal water users two weeks ago. The Phippsburg restrictions include:

■ Homes and businesses with odd-numbered street addresses can water their lawns and gardens on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Customers with even-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No one is allowed to water Wednesdays.

■ No outdoor watering of any kind between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

■ No vehicle washing at residences.

■ No washing of hard surfaces such as driveways and parking areas.

Because Phippsburg is unincorporated, Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District is operated by Routt County as an enterprise fund. The district serves about 120 residential and commercial water taps in the town just south of Oak Creek on Colorado Highway 131.

Yampa Public Works Director Eric Berry said Tuesday that the Yampa Town Board would consider increasing its restrictions from voluntary to mandatory during its meeting Wednesday night.

“I’m going to recommend that we go on mandatory restrictions,” Berry said.

Like Phippsburg, Yampa uses horizontal wells next to the Yampa to collect water.

“It’s as low as I’ve ever seen it,” Berry said. “It’s even lower than I saw it in 2002.”

In Oak Creek, interim Public Works Director Tom Holliday said Tuesday that the town still is under voluntary restrictions. The town relies on the Oak Creek waterway as its water source in addition to Sheriff’s Reservoir.

Farther north in the Stagecoach area, about 370 water customers are serviced by the Morrison Creek Water & Sanitation District.

“We don’t have any immediate plans for any restrictions,” District Manager Steve Colby said.

He said their water source is not immediately impacted by short-term droughts because their water comes from four 600- to 800-foot-deep wells that draw from an aquifer.

In the western part of Routt County, Milner residents rely on their own private wells. That’s also the case in the North Routt County communities of Clark and Hahn’s Peak.

In Hayden, the town’s public works department draws water directly from the Yampa and sends it through its treatment plant.

Hayden Public Works Director Sam Barnes said Tuesday that town officials discussed possible restrictions a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re doing fine,” Barnes said. “I don’t foresee any (restrictions) myself unless things drastically change.”

He said 600,000 to 700,000 gallons of treated water are being used each day by customers and said that’s typical for summer.

“They’re just letting their yards get a little more brown than usual because they are on a budget,” Barnes said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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