Let’s all do our part to conserve water


Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Manager Justin Ramsey is asking customers to conserve water. 

In an email to The SUN, he wrote, “Summer water use increases by up to 300% in the summer versus the winter putting a strain on the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation Districts (District) our ability to deliver water throughout the entire 70 square mile service area. This is due primarily to landscape irrigation. The unprecedented temperatures we have been experiencing this year has exasperated this issue. Based on a variety of factors we are currently in a Voluntary Drought Management Stage.”

Ramsey is asking for water users to voluntarily implement an odd/even watering schedule. Odd-numbered addresses should water on odd days of the month and even-numbered addresses should water on even days of the month. 

“Compliance with this voluntary schedule would all but guarantee that there would be adequate supply for the entire system without the need to implement further restrictions,” he added.

Ramsey went on to state that it is best to water before 10 a.m. in order to reduce water loss to evaporation and maximize water absorption by roots. 

“Water will evaporate four to eight times faster in the afternoon, as opposed to early morning,” he noted.

 Not all of us are customers of PAWSD, some are on private wells or haul our water, but we are all experiencing the same drought conditions and should all do our part to help conserve water given the current drought conditions. 

Students from 10 schools located on six continents were part of a global collaboration known as the Wai Water Project. The following suggestions to conserve water were compiled as part of that collaboration:

• Use the shower, not always a bath.

• When brushing your teeth, turn off the tap.

• When soaping in the shower, close the shower tap.

• Use the washing machine fully loaded, not half full.

• Use a dishwasher to do the dishes.

• When doing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running from the tap.

• Use the correct water-saving button on the toilet.

• We should try to reuse our rainwater.

• When you drink water from a glass, only take as much as you need.

• Use the water you saved to drink for later.

• Double check that the faucet is completely off when leaving the bathroom.

• Fix broken toilets and leaky faucets.

• Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.

• Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.

• Toilet leaks can be silent. Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.

• When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.

• One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day. Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.

• Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.

• Adjust the lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.

• Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every 6 inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.

• Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.

• Water coolers require a seasonal maintenance check.

• If you have a cooler, direct the water drain to plants in your landscape.

• Take a shower for five minutes maximum.

• Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. Use it to water your indoor plants or garden.

• Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket.

• Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators.

• Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants.

Let’s all do our part to help conserve water this summer.

Terri Lynn Oldham House