Fort Collins considers water restrictions amid drought

The city of Fort Collins is considering low-level lawn watering restrictions as the drought wears on.

City Council is scheduled to hear from Fort Collins city staff on the matter at its meeting Tuesday. The restrictions would take effect April 1 if approved by City Manager Darin Atteberry, said Lisa Rosintoski, customer connection manager for the city.

Water restrictions do not need approval from city councilors.

Level 1 water restrictions allow watering only two days per week and on a schedule. The restrictions bar watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and prohibit watering of surfaces such as sidewalks and patios except as necessary for health and safety. Level 1 restrictions would not affect water bill rates.

The last time the city enacted water restrictions was a decade ago.

Officials anticipate having less water this year as snowpack remains well below average and also because of poor water quality in the Cache la Poudre from the High Park fire.

“We’re looking at what could be the worst-case and trying to be proactive to make sure we meet those needs,´ said Laurie D’Audney, the city’s water conservation specialist.

The National Resource Conservation Service said recently that it expects below average water supplies this spring and summer in the West, with Colorado especially hard hit.

The minimum fine for violating the city’s Level 1 water restrictions law is $250, with a maximum penalty of $1,000.

The city may consider tighter water restrictions if it cannot draw on enough Poudre River and Colorado-Big Thompson Project supplies, D’Audney said.

COMING UP: For more on water restrictions in Northern Colorado, pick up a copy of this coming Friday’s Northern Colorado Business Report.

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