Mountain Village Landscapes Feeling the Burn of a Dry Spring
by Martinique Davis
May 24, 2012 | 890 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Mountain Village is feeling the burn of a dry winter and warm spring, with town officials announcing last week that the community would be instating water conservation measures effective June 1.

These conservation measures require that Elk Run residents and all owners of properties north of Mountain Village Boulevard water their landscaping only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and for no more than one hour, either before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. All residents south of Mountain Village Boulevard, plus the Ski Ranches and Skyfield, must follow the same guidelines and water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

These measures are pursuant to Section 4.3C of the Water and Sewer Rules and Regulations, and will be instated in the expectation that large portions of the San Miguel River basin will be under administration (on call) this summer if precipitation remains scant.

Under Colorado water law, in times of water shortage, those owning senior water rights may place a "call" on a stream to obtain a full supply. The stream will then come under the administration of the Colorado Division of Water Resources, as was the case for the San Miguel River in 2002.

As Town Manager Kim Montgomery explained to Mountain Village Town Council during their regular meeting last Thursday, anticipation of a dry summer compelled the town to ask its contracted water engineer to assess the impacts of this spring’s fast-diminishing snowpack in the high country.

The snowpack in the San Miguel basin is currently 9 percent of average and is expected to remain lower than the record drought year of 2002.

“Given our water usage to-date, and based upon what we saw in 2002, if the weather stays its course through the summer we’re looking at augmentation or drying up, at least on the golf course,” Montgomery told Council. “We feel it’s only prudent at this time to begin to gauge some conservation methods.”

Montgomery went on to explain that Mountain Village instated similar water management techniques during the 2002 drought, and the community managed to make it though the summer without needed augmentation. Yet, with so many factors involved, it is difficult to assess what this summer could have in store for Mountain Village’s golf course and private landscaping.

Mountain Village Town Attorney Jim Mahoney said 2002’s drought led to the San Miguel going on call, which necessitated that parts of the golf course dry up, starting first with the roughs. 
“This could be our most-likely scenario this summer,” he said.

The Town is currently in negotiations to obtain the right to extra water under a water lease program from Trout Lake, which could provide necessary augmentation in low-water years. Yet that agreement is at least a few month from being finalized, which may or may not make a difference for this summer.

Mountain Village Public Works Director Finn Kjome explained that his department will be responsible for enforcement of the conservation regulations, which will include warnings, fines, and could even lead to water being shut-off if a user is continually found to be in non-compliance.

“I think you’re going to see this happening region-wide,” Kjome said.

While the conservation measures aren’t expected to drastically impact Mountain Village homeowners’ established landscapes, homeowners hoping to install landscaping this summer could face having to wait until next summer to finish their projects.

“I would hate to have to tell someone that,” Montgomery said, “but we’re looking at some pretty serious life safety issues here.”

Questions regarding the conservation program should be directed to Kjome at 970/369-8206 or fkjome@mtnvillage.org. For tips and ideas on further ways to conserve water, visit http://www.townofmountainvillage.com/waterconservation.
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