Landscape Irrigation Schedule Same as Last Year’s
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Anticipating yet another dry spring, officials in Mountain Village announced last week that the town will place restrictions on landscape irrigation, effective April 1.
The restrictions come on the heels of reports from the Colorado Water Availability Task Force that southwestern Colorado may experience drought conditions this spring and summer.
“The town is being proactive in initiating this year’s restrictions beginning in April,” said Mountain Village’s Public Works Director Finn Kjome, “in an attempt to conserve water from the start of the irrigation season, rather than waiting until June when we could potentially be in a more sensitive drought situation.”
Last year, Kjome explained, tow officials scrambled to get restrictions in place by June, after a very dry spring.
This year, “by putting these measures into place before irrigation season starts, everybody can help conserve water from the beginning,” Kjome said.
Irrigation season typically starts in late May or early June, but last year’s dry spring conditions led many residents to start irrigating in April.
This summer’s schedule will be the same as last year’s, with Mountain Village, Ski Ranches, Elk Run and Skyfield residents on three-day weekly waterings, with watering times reduced by at least 25 percent.
Conservation brings results, Kjome said; despite last year’s late start, irrigation restrictions realized an 11 percent savings over Mountain Village’s five-year summer water-consumption average.
The restrictions should not harm established landscapes. “We’re asking people to cut back, but quite honestly, people have been overwatering,” Kjome said. Residents can still install new pre-approved landscaping (same as last year), and recently installed landscapes (dating back to spring 2011) are eligible for additional watering, on a case-by-case basis.
Because the town’s municipal water is drawn completely from wells, Kjome explained, from the Prospect and Skunk Creek drainage areas, as well as from a few wells along the San Miguel River, in Telluride, it is dependent on underground aquifers, with hard-to-measure water levels.
“We can’t see where the water levels are,” Kjome explained, “so we want to start conserving now, since we don’t know what’s going on underground.”
No town wells have ever run dry, he said, emphasizing that the conservation measures are merely precautionary.
According to Telluride Ski Resort snow reports, February had 72 inches of snow – 155 percent of the 37-year average, and January and December had slightly above-average snowfall. But the November 2012 snowfall was just 12 inches – one-third of that month’s 36-inch average. And March, to date, has seen just 29 inches of snow, a level well below its historic 50-inch average.
If the San Miguel River goes on a water call, Kjome explained, “further water restrictions may be necessary as we follow its augmentation requirements.”
Worse-case, a water call “could result in a ban on all exterior watering from our water system,” he warned. “Conversely, if the region does see a significant increase in moisture, we may retract our water conservation efforts.”
Mountain Village Water Conservation Program Schedule
- Residents with properties north of Mountain Village Boulevard and all Elk Run may water their landscaping Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only, setting irrigation clocks to run at 70-75 percent of normal water consumption levels on those days; irrigating hours are before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
- Residents with properties south of Mountain Village Boulevard, Ski Ranches and Skyfield may water their landscaping Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only, setting irrigation clocks to run at 70-75 percent of normal water consumption levels on those days; irrigating hours are before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
- Residents in Mountain Village, Elk Run, Ski Ranches and Skyfield must turn off all exterior water features during this water conservation effort period.
- Due to potential water contamination from “cross-connection” occurrences, trucked-in water cannot be hooked up to an existing irrigation system.
- Exemptions for new landscaping will be reviewed on a case-by-case by Town Forester Dave Bangert, who can be reached at 970/369-8203 or