Stage 3 Water Restrictions in Effect

As of Thursday, June 28, 2018, we put Stage 3 Water Restrictions in effect because Jeff Montoya of the State Water Office informed us that they are reducing our access to water from North Fork Creek from 6.2 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 3.6 cfs.  At 6.2 cfs, we were able to draw 4,017,600 gallons per day.  At 6.2 cfs, we were using about 300,000 gallons more per day than we could draw from the creek, which means the difference was coming from North Lake.  At 3.6 cfs we are able to draw 2,332,800 gallons per day.  This means our draw from North Lake is 2,067,200 gallons or 6.33 acre feet per day unless something changes.  It is curious that we are using more water per day now than we were before moving to water restriction level 2.  We are concerned that faced with Stage 2 restrictions, water users dramatically increased the amount they water on the days they are allowed.  In addition, the water schedule was confusing at best adding to problems with compliance.  The reason we are immediately moving to Stage 3, rather than waiting until after the City Council meeting waiting would result in a draw of at least 36 acre feet from North Lake in the interim period.

Because of the confusion resulting from the published stage 2 watering schedule, we reworked the residential watering allowance for Stage 3.  The new restriction is even number addresses can water on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6am – 10am.  Odd number addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 6am and 10am.  Several people have contacted City Hall complaining about the watering time frame.  We will be publishing links for articles from recognized companies, such as Scott’s which clearly state early morning watering is the most effective.

Utilities Director Mike Valentine and I met with Trinidad Golf Course staff earlier this week and discussed reducing their daily water use.  The golf course has a software program and equipment that monitors the evaporation rate from the turf in determining how much water to apply.  In an attempt to conserve water, Golf course maintenance staff have been applying 70% of the amount of water recommended by the software.  During our visit, they changed it to 60%.  Anyone looking at the fairways at the golf course can clearly see the grass is stressed by the reduced watering.  On Thursday, Mike Valentine and I met with all, but three of the marijuana growers and discussed the need for conservation practices.  Without exception, each of them was very understanding of our situation and said they will do what they can to cut back. Over the next few days, we plan to visit with the remaining growers and most of the large users. We have also confirmed that the cemeteries need to cut back dramatically.  They apparently have the practice of turning on sprinkling systems shortly before the end of the work day and leaving them on until they arrive back at work the next morning.  The problem is we do not know how much water the cemeteries are consuming because they are not metered.  We are explaining to all of we have visited with that if additional conservation practices do not result in reduction of water use, we will be forced to starting shutting down customer access to water.  In a conversation regarding Colorado State Water Law, we learned it establishes the following priority list from most important water use to least important.  1. Residential in-house use; 2. Industrial and Commercial; 3. Agriculture; 4. Recreation.  Trinidad is required to use this priority list when cutting off water use.  Under State Water Law, marijuana grows are considered industrial uses.  It is also noticeable that residential outside watering does not appear on the priority list.

A new challenge is the Spring Fire that started on the Fort Garland side of the Sangre de Cristo range has crossed the range and as of Friday morning, June 29, 2018 – it has grown to 53,500 acres.  Many evacuations have already occurred.  It is possible that firefighting crews will start drawing water from North Lake.  If this happens it will reduce our resource even more.

Enacting and advancing water restrictions is not something the City wants to do, but when the conditions mandate it, we do it.  We ask the public to be understanding.

Greg Sund
City Manager


Watering of lawns and other vegetation is restricted as follows:

Addresses ending in an even number are allowed to water between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Addresses ending in an odd number are allowed to water between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.



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