While Douglas County remains under a drought watch, water officials in Parker and Castle Rock are optimistic about water supplies as the state heads into the hottest part of summer. Castle Rock Water …
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While Douglas County remains under a drought watch, water officials in Parker and Castle Rock are optimistic about water supplies as the state heads into the hottest part of summer.
Castle Rock Water Director Mark Marlowe said this is the first summer the town is using the reusable water supply. In 2006, the town invested $208 million to build the reusable water facility. Water started pumping into residents' homes early this year.
Because of the renewable water source, Marlowe said as the high-use water months continue, Plum Creek resources are “holding up well.”
“We have been able to utilize renewable water because the creek is running well,” he said. “Reusable water tends to be more drought resistant, and it does not depend on rainfall. It is water we have already used that will be put back into the system. It is a reliable source, especially during a drought.”
With hot, dry weather coming in July and August, Marlowe said the wet spring helped this year.
Ron Redd, district manager for Parker Water & Sanitation District, said water supplies are holding up well, and residents have not even met peak demand as expected this year.
Thanks to a wet spring, Redd said, customers in Parker and Castle Pines have used a lot less water in June and early July this year compared to the same time last year.
With 2020 being so dry, Redd said residents were using about 28 million gallons of water per day. This year, the average use is half that at 14 million gallons.
“So far, this has been a really good year,” Redd said. “We have a lot more moisture than last year. Our water demand is down and that is exactly what we need.”
Besides having more moisture this spring, Redd said he thinks lower water use is due to residents becoming more vigilant in conserving water, and he added that Parker Water has added more infrastructure, including drilling two wells.
Like Castle Rock, Redd said, Parker Water has been proactive in creating renewable water resources to mitigate drought conditions.
Marlowe and Redd said groundwater supplies are also in good shape for both districts.
Both Marlowe and Redd agreed that even though water supplies are in good shape this year, residents should not become complacent, because supplies in other parts of the state do have a local impact.
“Douglas County is not in a drought,” Marlowe said. “But water shortages in other parts of the state are a concern. We want people to continue using water efficiently and not waste water.”
On July 1, Gov. Jared Polis declared a drought emergency for western Colorado.The drought conditions on the Western Slope matter to local communities participating the WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency) Water program.
The primary source of water for WISE is from the South Platte River, north of Aurora. Most of this water is reuse water from the Aurora's Prairie Waters system and is combined with water from the Rocky Mountains.
Marlowe said when it comes to WISE water, as other parts of the state suffer worse drought conditions, Aurora and Denver's water rights trump Castle Rock and Parker.
Marlowe said WISE water is an interrupted water source.
“If it gets bad enough on the West Slope, Aurora and Denver can interrupt our water supplies,” Marlowe said. “Right now, it is not a huge issue, but it is something we need to keep in mind.”
The Centennial Water District, which manages water supplies in Highlands Ranch, has continued to encourage residents to practice water efficiency practices to protect supplies.
While still in good shape, Centennial Water has implemented a staging process to increase water rates if drought conditions get worse in the coming months.
With July being designated as Water Efficiency Month, all water districts along the Front Range have encouraged residents to get educated on how to be more water efficient.
In Castle Rock, residents can visit the website at crconserve.com to learn more about what they can do to conserve water.
Customers of Parker Water can visit the website at pwsd.org.
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