No mandatory watering rules expected as city’s reserves full

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — For the first time in years, Brighton residents will not be facing mandatory restrictions for watering their lawns this summer. 

The city’s reservoirs are full, according to Water Resource Engineer Sarah Borgers, because of the abundance of water that was brought into the area by the floods last fall. The city was able to capture enough water to fill Ken Mitchell Lakes Cell 1 and its reservoir at 124th Avenue. Since that time, the water in Ken Mitchell Lakes Cell 1 has been pumped into Cell 3 due to Ready Mixed Concrete's completion of the mining in Cell 1 and the construction of the South Platte Interceptor pipeline for the Metro Wastewater Reclaimation District.

“We have full reservoir supplies. We’re expecting big runoff this spring but we actually don’t have anywhere to put it,” Borgers said. “Usually this time of year is our lowest time of year – right before we start pumping water in from the ditches – so we’re ahead of schedule and at this point we’re not considering a drought at all.” 

Although water restrictions are not planned for the summer, city officials are still asking residents to conserve water and be mindful of their water use. Borgers said the city has sent a voluntary water schedule, asking residents to limit their outdoor water usage to once every three days. She said residents will be allowed to irrigate their lawns and receiving sod permits starting April 1.

“The more we conserve right now the better it can prepare us for drought years and hopefully prevent us from having to go and declare drought stages in the future,” she said.

In addition to promoting ongoing conservation measures, the city will be launching a pilot program called WaterSMART which is designed to make residents aware of their water usage. Borgers said 4,000 homeowners and water customers will be selected at random to participate in the program and will receive welcome letters from the city. 

Those who do not want to participate in the study can give the city a call to opt out. Borgers said the program will give residents a personalized look at their water usage by comparing their usage to other residents who have similar sized lawns or similar sized households. 

“The idea is it provides our customers with a better understanding of how much water their using as compared to their neighbors and gives them some ideas of how to conserve water,” she said. 

Borgers said communities who have implemented the WaterSMART program have seen a 5 percent drop in water usage from its customers. She said its another way for the city to connect with its water customers. 

Additionally, the city will continue to offer rebates for residents who purchase and install high efficiency toilets and washing machines. Free seminars on xeriscaping and turf management in a dry climate will be offered to the public at the Recreation Center.