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PAWSD to impose voluntary water restrictions

On July 1, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District will impose voluntary water use restrictions within district boundaries.

PAWSD Water Conservation Coordinator Mat DeGraaf explained that, at present, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) reports that snowpack levels for the San Juan Basin are at zero percent.

“This is the fist time since 2002 that snowpack levels have been this low,” DeGraaf said, adding, “This should be a concern to us all.”

PAWSD Special Projects Manager Renee Lewis explained that voluntary restrictions are a method of drought mitigation, not a drought response measure.

“The ultimate goal of voluntary restrictions is that PAWSD won’t have to reach Level 1 restriction because the community is doing such a good job conserving water,” Lewis said.

Lewis assured that, presently, all reservoirs are full and that there is no sense for alarm.

“The voluntary restrictions are a means to put folks on notice that there is a lack of precipitation and low flow in the rivers, and people should be mindful of their water use,” Lewis said.

According to DeGraaf, the water level in Lake Hatcher is dropping, with an output of 1.4 million gallons of water per day, and no water going into the lake.

“The most significant impact you can have towards reducing the total amount of water used at your home is by cutting back the amount of water applied to lawns and landscapes,” DeGraaf said.

Other voluntary water use restrictions PAWSD encourages the community to take are:

- Water early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize loss to evaporation.

- Consider installing drip irrigation to landscapes.

- Water deeply and, thus, less frequently.

- Use a broom or rake to clean hard surfaces instead of water.

- Be sure the washing machine and dishwasher are loaded to full capacity before running.

- Check your irrigation system for leaks and damages and repair before use.

For more tips on water conservation and to find out more about dry weather conditions in Pagosa, DeGraaf will be available to speak with interested parties at the Home Show on June 22 and 23 at Pagosa Springs High School.

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