Water restrictions could begin Friday in Oak Creek | SteamboatToday.com

Water restrictions could begin Friday in Oak Creek

Michael Schrantz

— On the same day Gov. John Hickenlooper enacted statewide fire restrictions because of dry conditions across Colorado, the Oak Creek Town Board passed a resolution empowering the mayor to enact outside watering restrictions.

With a spreadsheet in hand detailing water diverted to the town, Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen on Thursday explained to the Town Board that Oak Creek on average in June is exceeding the 1/2 cubic feet per second — about 340,000 gallons per day — it can draw from the creek. On hot days, the town is far exceeding that daily figure, Page-Allen said. The daily average of raw water diverted to the town for the first 14 days of June is 367,641 gallons per day. The water used in excess of the 1/2 cfs comes from extra water flowing past irrigators and a small allocation from Trout Creek. The town has senior rights with five others that draw from the Oak Creek ditch.

As the flow down the ditch dwindles and irrigators continue to draw water for the next few weeks, the town can draw upon 720 acre-feet from Sheriff's Reservoir, which would provide more than 600 days of water at 340,000 gallons per day, according to Page-Allen.

The resolution passed Thursday by the Town Board would allow the mayor, with the advice of the Public Works director, to enact restrictions according to a phased plan that starts with voluntary restrictions. The phased plan will be tied to the amount of water drawn from Sheriff's Reservoir. The voluntary restrictions would go into effect when the town begins drawing from the reservoir, which interim Public Works Director Tom Holliday said could be as soon as Friday.

Voluntary restrictions would be the first phase, with Phases 2 through 4 going into effect at 50 acre-foot intervals, according to the plan.

However, Trustee Josh Voorhis, who was appointed to the Town Board along with Jenny Lewis at the May 24 meeting, objected to the mayor being able to enact the more onerous mandatory restrictions without bringing the issue back before the full Town Board.

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"For a lot of landowners and property owners in town, this could be their biggest issue of the year," Voorhis said.

The resolution was passed, 5-1, with the amendment that the issue would come back before the full board for Phase 3 mandatory restrictions. Voorhis voted "no."

Mayor Nikki Knoebel volunteered to call all Town Board members before enacting the second phase of restrictions, which would limit lawn watering, and call a special session if there were objections.

The full text of the outside watering restrictions will be posted at various places across town and distributed when utility meters are checked.

In other action, the Town Board:

■ Approved the special-event permit for the Taste of South Routt, 6-0.

■ Tabled the public hearing on the personnel policies and procedures handbook because the advertising threshold had not been met, 6-0.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4254 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

Upcoming Oak Creek events

■ Saturday: Yard Sale Day with town of Yampa

■ June 23: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. town cleanup day with barbecue following

■ June 30: Taste of South Routt

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