Going with the flow - sensibly
July 9, 2018
When it’s springtime in the Rockies, the runoff from melting snow seems to supercharge the area’s waterways. Don’t let this flow fool you. The Drought.gov website states present conditions across Colorado indicate that 45 percent of the population is experiencing drought conditions. For the time being, Boulder County isn’t in one of those areas, but voluntary water reduction measures are highly recommended.
By 2050, according to many sources, Colorado will house more than 8.5 million people. That’s 3.5 million more people than today’s population, all opening their spigots for drinking, washing, working, and watering. Colorado’s Water Plan website states, “Colorado faces the possibility of a significant water supply shortfall within the next few decades, even with aggressive conservation and new water projects.”
While it’s difficult to control the supply of water, the demand is more easily regulated.
Left Hand Water District (LHWD) offers several ways the community can address the necessity to lower water usage, while saving money and even beautifying landscapes in the process.
Slow the Flow Colorado Program
Betsy Wheeler, LHWD’s Water Program Specialist, said the district’s free water consultation program can result in the most impactful water savings for residents. Residents could see a reduction of thousands of gallons of water usage per year from this audit.
The Slow the Flow Colorado program is offered in conjunction with ReSource Central, a nonprofit community resource focused on conserving water through education. Trained specialists spend one to two hours at residences or businesses and, based on an irrigation inspection, soil sampling, and other data collection and analysis, the technician presents a list of water saving recommendations.
“They essentially leave you with an individualized schedule for your specific landscaping needs in the hopes it will save money and water,” Wheeler said.
The program does book up quickly, so it’s recommended that if the request can’t be satisfied this year, reservations should be made for spring of next year to get on the calendar.
To schedule an inspection, visit http://slowtheflow.conservationcenter.org/ or call 303-999-3824.
If simply saving water isn’t enough of an incentive, LHWD also offers consumers credits on their water bills when they purchase water-smart household appliances and irrigation controllers.
“This is such an easy program,” Wheeler said. “It seems like we never really hit our budget on the rebates. Every March we send out a conservation newsletter and tell consumers, but I feel like people just don’t know that the rebate program is out there.”
New purchases of low flow (1-1.6 gallons/flush) and dual flush toilets can pocket homeowners $50 to $100 respectively. Purchases of qualified high efficiency clothes washers save consumers $75. LHWD also offers half off the cost of new outdoor irrigation controllers, up to $150, with the purchase of an approved device.
The latest technology for irrigation systems is called ET (for evapotranspiration) controllers. The beauty of this type of controller is that it will monitor weather conditions and automatically turn the system on or off based on watering needs. Most ET controllers also allow homeowners to monitor their watering with a phone app, so when they’re away from home, they can see what has been watered and they can even trigger a zone or two to water remotely.
To apply for the rebates, homeowners complete a form and include original receipts within 90 days of purchase and within LHWD’s budget year. Specific information is available online.
Water wise gardening
“I think our garden is amazing, and it’s gorgeous this time of year,” Wheeler said of LHWD’s Plant Select’s demonstration plantings. “These plants will save water for our customers, are native to Colorado and will help people with their landscaping.”
Started in 2011, the LHWD demonstration garden upholds Plant Select’s brand parameters – high plains, low-water needs plants that are non-invasive, disease resistant, and will thrive in this area. There are actually several areas to peruse around the LHWD grounds. One area greets visitors at 73rd Street and Nimbus Road and there are more plantings all around the parking lot, as well as behind the administration building.
Viewing hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and visitors are asked to come into the building to pick up informative pamphlets about the plants they’ll see. Each plant is labeled and visitors are encouraged to take photos.
For more information on all of these topics, visit http://www.lefthandwater.org or call 303-530-4200.