Mandatory water restrictions lifted for Steamboat Springs

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— Mandatory water restrictions for Steamboat Springs residents and businesses were lifted Monday, 13 weeks after they were put in place in the midst of extreme drought conditions.

Monday’s announcement removes the restrictions for city of Steamboat Springs, Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District and Tree Haus Metropolitan District water customers. Restrictions will remain in place for Steamboat II Metropolitan District water customers until its board of directors meets and takes action on the proposal.

“As temperatures have cooled during the last two weeks we have seen a steady reduction in demand as irrigation usage has fallen off,” Jay Gallagher, general manager of the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, said in a news release.

Water officials said usage decreased by 15 percent during the time the restrictions were in place.

Among other measures, the restrictions limited irrigation to three days a week and restricted watering of any kind from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Joe Zimmerman, the city of Steamboat’s water superintendent, said the 15 percent decrease in water consumption saved more than 200 acre-feet of water throughout the past three months.

“We want to thank residents and businesses for their compliance,” he said.

The positive response to the restrictions has led to increased optimism the community can hit the goals of the Water Conservation Plan adopted in 2011, which calls for 5 percent reduction in water usage by 2015, 10 percent by 2025 and 15 percent by 2035.

“Encouraging irrigation and landscaping efficiencies is one of the means by which we can achieve these reduction targets,” Gallagher said in the release. “With the lifting of Stage 2 water restrictions, we are asking residents to continue to consider how they are using water both inside as well as outside their homes.”

Fish Creek Reservoir, the primary water storage facility for Steamboat Springs residents and businesses, is at 60 percent capacity. Officials said the reservoir typically doesn’t drop to that level until December.

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