Water Conservation

With average temperatures on the rise and precipitation decreasing it is important to plan ahead to anticipate a decrease in our water supply. Evergreen Metro District has a Water Conservation Plan that has been created to respond to drought with voluntary and mandatory water restrictions as well as increased fees and penalties for high usage accounts.

Before we implement restrictions and fees look at your water usage and see if you can reduce the amount of water your household uses monthly.

Tips on Reducing Water Usage:

Look for water leaks!
  • Check faucets for leaks- even a tiny drip can waste thousands of gallons of water and be expensive. https://evergreenmetro.colorado.gov/sites/evergreenmetro/files/Fix%20a%20Leak.pdf
  • Fill your toilet tank with a few drops of food coloring and wait 30mins. If you see any color in the bowl you will know that your toilet is leaking. https://evergreenmetro.colorado.gov/sites/evergreenmetro/files/Silent%20Leak.pdf
  • Check to make sure your toilet flapper is working properly and not getting stuck open. Jiggle the flapper after flushing to insure a proper closed gasket.
  • Look for green or wet spots outside during irrigation season to find leaks in your sprinkler system.
  • Check your water meter, or Waterscope account (if you have a new water meter) for leaks.
    • If you see the small dial on your meter continuously moving that means that you are constantly using water, which means you most likely are leaking.

      If you have no water running in your home and the dial or the last 2 numbers on the read are moving, you have a leak.

    • If you have a new water meter you will have access to Waterscope which is a website that monitors your usage and can warn you of a leak. (See, how to Register your new VN Meter for more information).

Example of leaking account on Waterscope:

  • Waterscope can pick up water leaks by using algorithms in the program that analyze the amount of water coming through your meter, how much, and for how long.
  • Evergreen Metro District monitors accounts for high consumption and tries to contact customers regarding the usage as it may be a leak. However, it’s not a perfect auditing system and smaller leaks are not detected. If we do find that your usage is abnormally high, you will receive a call from us to let you know and tips to help find the leak (please make sure your contact information is up to date.
  • Once you know you have a leak call a plumber to help find exactly where it is coming from and have it repaired.

     

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Reduce water usage.
  • There are several areas that people can reduce their water usage on a daily basis.
    • Make sure that you turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
    • Take showers instead of baths.
    • Replace old faucets and toilets with WaterSense labeled products.
    • Only wash full loads of laundry.
    • Plug your sink if you are hand washing the dishes.
    • Clean off dishes in the trash rather than running water.
    • Use a dish washer to wash dishes and make sure it is a full load before starting.
    • Use high-efficiency sprinkler heads to water lawns and plants.
    • Test you soil before you water, if you can stick a screwdriver 5 inches deep into the soil you do not need to water.
    • Keep your soil healthy, healthy soils cycle nutrients effectively, minimize runoff, retain water, and absorb excess nutrients, sediments, and pollutants.
    • Aerate your soil to improve infiltration of water into the ground and reduce runoff.
    • If you are planting new trees or shrubs plant as early in spring as you can.
      1. Water daily for 1-2 weeks after planting and then for 10 more weeks lower watering to every 2 to 3 days
    • Rip up your lawn and xeriscape your yard. (See tips for Xeriscaping).
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Xeriscaping

(Photo courtesy of https://botanish.com/building-your-gardens-resilience-to-drought/)

During most of the year the average Evergreen household consumes less than 6,000 gallons of water per household. We estimate that a household will use about 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of water per person per month. During the irrigation season these numbers double for households that water on a regular basis, have large lawns, and other vegetation that requires heavy watering.

We understand that having a beautifully landscaped yard is one of the joys of home ownership, however you can have a beautiful yard without the expensive water usage.

Xeriscaping has been around for a few decades and in 1991 the Evergreen Garden Club helped us install a xeriscape garden next to our water treatment plant. All of the plants are local and or "water-thrifty plants suitable to the mountain community" (https://www.evergreengardenclub.org/public-gardens).

So, you don’t have to have either a nice yard or less water usage, you can have both.

 

Here are some tips for Xeriscaping

Choose native plants- Most native plants, once established, require less watering and soil amendments and are naturally adept to the environment. (See: https://www.evergreengardenclub.org/native-plants-for-evergreen-gardens for more information on local plants).

Maintain healthy soil- Healthy soils need less water, and all water and nutrients to absorb into the soil better.

Group plants according to their water needs- Make sure to group plants together based on how much water they will need. By grouping plants with similar watering needs you can make sure to water only what is necessary.

Use mulch- Mulch helps to insulate plants and reduces evaporation.

Maintain your garden beds- Making sure to pull weeds out will reduce the amount of water wasted on weeds that you don’t want anyways. Aerating your soil will allow for water to seep further into the soil, keeping roots well-watered.

Water wisely- Make sure that you are watering in the morning and evening, not during the heat of the day. Watering during the middle of the day can burn your foliage and wastes water through increased evaporation. You can also purchase water efficient sprinkler heads to help reduce the amount of water used during irrigation.

Be selective when adding turf areas- Turfgrass receives the highest percentage of irrigation water in traditional landscaping. To improve the aesthetics of your landscape and better manage outdoor water use, select drought-tolerant turfgrass and plant turf only where it has a practical function, such as children’s play areas.

For more information on the benefits of Xeriscaping and ideas on how to get started please visit:

https://coloradowaterwise.org/XeriscapeColorado

https://waterwiseyards.org/

https://www.evergreengardenclub.org/

https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2017-01/documents/ws-outdoor-water-efficient-landscaping.pdf

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Ways to Conserve Water!

EPA Water Sense Partner Logo

Evergreen Metro District is a proud utility partner of EPA's WaterSense. Learn more about how you can save our most precious resource at https://www.epa.gov/watersense.

Water Conservation Plan

This Water Conservation Plan has been created for the purpose of providing a framework to deal with drought or any other phenomena that diminishes or interrupts the normal supply of water and water levels in Bear Creek and Evergreen Lake.

Mission:

The Mission of this Plan is to provide guidance and operational imperatives to the Board which will facilitate a quicker and more comprehensive response to any interruption of the Evergreen Metropolitan District ("EMD") water supply.

Water Shortage from Low Bear Creek Flow and Emergency Response:

Drought responses to water shortages on Bear Creek will be categorized into three conditions. The responses will be based on two flow monitoring devices, which monitor and record the water flow in Bear Creek at two locations. One gauge is on Bear Creek before Evergreen Lake, and the other gauge is on Bear Creek before the town of Morrison. There are varying levels of drought response, with Level 1 being the least severe, and Water Rationing being the most severe. Droughts may also occur during the winter, in which case there is also a Winter Drought response level.

Minor Drought Response Level 1

Voluntary Water Conservation

  • A minor drought would be determined by a reading of 12.0 cfs to 10.0 cfs flowing through the gauge on Bear Creek at Evergreen Lake.
  • Once declared, without major precipitation, Level 1 will remain in place through the remainder of the irrigation season (June 1 to October 31)·
  • A minor drought response may also be employed if a water system supply problem, that limits the amount of water the distribution system can provide to any or all areas of the water system, is identified.
  • Level 1 drought response will be communicated to the District's customer base and the general public using strategic signing, social media, statement messages, local newspapers, and the District's website. Periodic reminders will be distributed through these sources.
  • Voluntary restrictions go into place including - outside watering recommendations before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM no more than three days per week.
  • If the flow in Bear Creek holds at the 10.0 cfs reading at the Evergreen Lake gauge, then this will be the extent of action taken· Should significant precipitation result in a consistent 12.0 cfs+ reading - Level 1 may be lifted and the community will be notified.
Drought Response Level 2

Mandatory Water Conservation

  • A Level 2 Drought is determined by a 7 day average reading of 10.0 cfs to 5.0 cfs flowing through the gauge on Bear Creek at Evergreen Lake.
  • Once declared, without major precipitation, Level 2 will remain in place through the remainder of the irrigation season (June 1 to October 31)·
  • Level 2 Drought response will be communicated to the District's customer base and the general public using strategic signing, social media, statement messages, local newspapers, and the District's website. Periodic reminders will be distributed through these sources.
  • Mandatory restrictions go into place including
    • Outside watering before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM - ONLY
    • Max 3 days per week watering
    • Irrigation zone operation max 30 minutes per zone
    • Golf Courses, Public Parks and Ball Fields will reduce irrigation by 30% and reduce usage to 3 days per week
  • Once Level 2 Drought response goes into place water rate penalties and usage violation fines will be assessed.
    • First time offenders - penalty waived
    • Second and Subsequent offenses - $50.00 per offense fine
    • Drought penalty rates for usage over 5,000 gallons per tap will be implemented- $6.30 per 1k gallons.
    • Drought penalty rates for usage over 12,000 gallons per tap will be implemented of $15.75 per 1k gallons.
  • All water haulers and bulk station users will be limited to hauling for indoor use only. No irrigation hauling allowed.
  • If the flow in Bear Creek holds at the 5.0 cfs reading at the Evergreen Lake gauge, then this will be the extent of action taken· Should significant precipitation result in a consistent 10.0 cfs+ reading - Level 2 may be lifted and the community will be notified.
Severe Drought Response Level 3

CRISIS WATER MANAGEMENT

  • A Level 3 Drought is determined by a 7-day average reading below 5.0 cfs flowing through the gauge on Bear Creek at Evergreen Lake.
  • Once declared, without major precipitation, Level 3 will remain in place through the remainder of the irrigation season (June 1 to October 31)·
  • Level 3 Drought response will be communicated to the District's customer base and the general public using strategic signing, social media, statement messages, local newspapers, and the District's website. Press releases will be issued to local media sources. Periodic reminders will be distributed through these sources.
  • NO OUTSIDE IRRIGATION ALLOWED
    • Flowers, Plants, and Gardens may be watered with by hand using a watering can or hose with shut off nozzle.
    • Cars may be washed by hand using a bucket or hose with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Once Level 3 Drought response goes into place water severe rate penalties and usage violation fines will be assessed.
    • First-time offenders - $100.00 fine
    • Second and Subsequent offenses - $200.00 per offense fine
    • Drought Penalty rates for usage over 5,000 gallons per tap will be implemented- $12.60 per 1k gallons.
    • Drought Penalty rates for usage over 7,500 gallons per tap will be implemented - $31.50 per 1k gallons.
  • All golf courses and irrigation taps will be shut off until Level 3 is lifted. (A small allowance will be made for Evergreen Golf course's tees and greens only )
  • The Bulk Station will be closed to all use.
  • If the flow in Bear Creek holds at the 5.0 cfs reading at the Evergreen Lake gauge, then this will be the extent of action taken· Should significant precipitation result in a consistent 5.0 cfs+ reading - Level 3 may be lifted and the community will be notified.
  • NO CONSUMPTION CREDITS will be issued.
  • This moratorium is necessary to maintain stream flows down Bear Creek.

     
  • If the situation dictates, the Water Shortage Response Team can enact more stringent requirements including cutting off Evergreen Golf Course and water rationing if necessary.
  • A public announcement will be made whenever this Severe Drought Level has ended or an increase in streamflow above 5.0 cfs for a 7 day running average has occurred that will allow the District to administer a Level 2 drought condition response.
Water Rationing

EXTREME CONDITIONS

  • After Level 3 drought responses have been enacted, and the level of Evergreen Lake continues to decline to 1foot below the top of the dam, the Committee may enact a water-rationing program. Signs will be placed at strategic locations around the District declaring the emergency water rationing program.
  • Initial water rationing shall require all residential and commercial customers to restrict their indoor water use to 6,000 gallons per month per equivalent tap.
  • A water penalty rate will be enacted per thousand gallons for all use above 6,000 gallons per equivalent tap per month.
  • If the water level in Evergreen Lake continues to decline past 2 feet down even more severe water rationing will be enacted.
  • No outside use of water for irrigation of any kind will be allowed for any reason.
  • No car washing or any outside household use of water will be allowed.
  • Public announcements will be made in the local news and posted on the District website when a change in drought conditions occurs.
  • Fines will be set at double Level 3 rates and will be assessed against all outside water use.
Winter Drought

A winter drought is not foreseen due to the low water usage from customers on the water system during that season. Without irrigation, the District’s maximum base winter use for customers at full build-out of 7,500 WTEs is 200 gallons per tap per day. This usage would equate to 2.0 cfs during the winter. Only once in the last 80 years of data on Bear Creek has the flow reached a low of 4.0 cfs in the winter. Therefore a winter drought is not anticipated utilizing the maximum equivalent tap number of 7,500.

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