Drought continues, water use is higher than goal
Jun 05, 2013 | 6403 views | 1 1 comments | 130 130 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The drought that has gripped San Juan County for the past few years retained a hold during the month of May with precipitation levels significantly below normal levels.

May and June are traditionally the driest months of the year in San Juan County and May followed form.

Monticello Public Works Director Nathan Langston said the city used more water than it brought in during the past week. From May 27 to June 3, 4.35 million gallons of water flowed into the city system and city residents used 5.87 million gallons. It is the first week of the year that the city has used more water than it brought in.

The switch from building water reserves to using reserves generally happens later in June or in July.

Monticello city officials are asking that residents cut water use by 25 percent in order to secure adequate reserves for next year. While community water use for the year has dropped by more than seven million gallons below historical levels, it does not reach the goal of a 25 percent reduction.

As of June 3, the current year-to-date water use is 44.16 million gallons, which is a 17 percent reduction from the historical levels.

City officials have stated that if a request for voluntary cuts does not work, they may need to implement more stringent watering restrictions.

Area reservoirs are at levels generally more suited to the end of the irrigation season rather than late spring. Loyds Lake currently holds just 30 percent of its capacity.

With just more than 1,000 acre-feet of water, Loyds Lake may reach its conservation pool (which is functionally empty) of 500 acre-feet.

Recapture Reservoir is already at its conservation pool. The White Mesa Uranium Mill is at the tail end of using the 500 acre-feet of water that it purchased from the City of Blanding. Operations are likely to be cut back at the mill as the available water is depleted.

In Blanding, there are no restrictions, but City officials are anxious to avoid wasting water. The city is preparing three deep wells to draw water from the Navajo Aquifer, which is 2,000 feet below the city. The plan is to draw approximately 500 acre-feet of water from the wells to keep a two-year supply of water for the city.
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June 06, 2013
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