Potable water use in the City of Steamboat Springs and the Mount Werner Water District approached the processing capacity limits of the Yampa Wells Treatment Plant earlier this week, so water managers are asking residents to stop outdoor water use.
“If people are irrigating, we want them to shut it down,” said Frank Alfone, Mount Werner Water general manager. “One HOA, we asked to shut theirs down because they hadn’t gotten around to doing it.”
Alfone said the combined water storage for the various tanks throughout the distribution system currently totals 3.9 million gallons, which is essentially a backup of about two days of water. He said water distribution is not at risk of being curtailed, however, because most users are abiding by current conservation requests that were triggered on Sept. 15 when the Fish Creek Water Treatment Plant shut down for maintenance.
Tank storage at the Fish Creek plant is 2 million gallons but currently is not in use. The Yampa Wells Treatment Plant, normally a backup processing system to handle summer spikes in water use, is the only treatment system in operation currently. The larger Fish Creek plant will be shut down through Nov. 18.
City water officials say this wetter summer helped to reduce city and district water use to 401.7 million gallons from June to August 2022 compared to 446.6. gallons in June to August 2021.
Michelle Carr, the city’s distribution and collection manager, said she recently contacted 10 to 15 individual large homeowners who were using 4,000 gallons of water per day. An average US household uses 9,000 gallons of water per month, according to US Environmental Protection Agency data.
“They said they weren’t there during the summer and missed out on the outreach,” Carr said of the homeowners.
Heightened summer water use drops off around Oct. 1, Carr said, but this year all water users were asked to conserve two weeks earlier.
The city and district maintain a “Report Water Waste” form via a link at the bottom of the city’s water conservation webpage.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.