Water woes continue
Water woes continue in San Juan County as cities grapple with an almost non-existent runoff of snowpack from the Abajo Mountains.
After the secondary water reservoir went dry in the past week, the City of Monticello began pumping water from the reserve water stored in Loyds Lake.
In general, the city may begin pumping water in July during a dry year. As a result, this year is by far the earliest the city has turned on the pumps.
The city claims more than 1,000 acre-feet of water currently stored in Loyds Lake. Monticello has an average annual use of about 750 acre-feet of water, so there are enough reserves for 2018. However, Monticello City Manager Doug Wright is concerned about what will happen if the drought conditions continue for another year.
“We will be fine this year,” said Wright. “But if we have a similar winter next year, it will be absolutely dire.”
The Monticello City Council plans a May 22 work meeting to discuss water issues. No extra watering restrictions are in place at the current time, but they could be considered at the meeting.
Possibilities include adjusting rates or implementing restrictions.
Wright suggested that rates may need to increase to account for the cost of pumping the water from Loyds Lake to the city storage ponds.
Current Monticello city code restricts daytime watering, leaving early morning, evening, and night hours for watering. In addition, city code restricts watering during windy conditions.
Wright reports that city employees are working to help people recognize when water is being wasted. He said there have been several warnings have been issued for water waste and a few citations.
Depending on watering restrictions, it is anticipated that a number of Monticello residents may haul water. Secondary water is available at the industrial park, while culinary water is available at the city fire station.
The City of Blanding has more water reserves in storage, with approximately three years of water for culinary use in the Blanding Fourth Reservoir.
However, Blanding City Manager Jeremy Redd also cautions about excessive water use. “It is very dry,” said Redd. “A bleak situation even though culinary water is ok this year.”
Blanding has the advantage of significant water resources from three deep wells.
Redd reports that the city has been pumping the deep wells on nights and weekends for the past six weeks. The well water is mixed with the culinary water.
Redd reports that there have been no complaints about the taste of the city water. In previous years, there were concerns on the southern end of town about the well water.
Redd said the city hopes to eliminate any problems by pumping during limited hours, mixing the water with the culinary water, and flushing the water system every year.
Current reserves in Blanding area reservoirs includes 1,750 acre-feet in the Fourth Reservoir, 200 acre-feet in the Third Reservoir, 4,766 acre-feet in Recapture Reservoir, and the conservation pool at Dry Wash.
Redd said that irrigators who sit below Recapture Reservoir have limited water for this season. There is no irrigation from the reservoirs above Recapture.