The City of Grand Junction is committed to conserving one of our most precious natural resources – water. During a regular meeting of City Council, councilmembers proclaimed May 2-8 Drinking Water Week in the City of Grand Junction. Our citizens are called upon to help practice water conservation and to get involved in local water issues by getting to know their water. With most of western Colorado experiencing drought, the City is working to conserve water by taking several proactive actions.
The Parks & Recreation Department relies heavily on water to ensure that the community’s green infrastructure is healthy. Water conservation is of paramount importance in the management of these community resources in consideration of extreme drought. Therefore, many strategies are applied to conserve water in the over 350 acres of developed parkland. City parks are watered on a 1-2-3-3-2-1 schedule, which corresponds with months in the growing season. This means parks are watered once per week in April, twice per week in May, three times per week in June and so on. This promotes healthier turf with well-developed roots that grow deeper to access water. Time of day is also critical, so watering typically occurs after parks close, lessening the effects of evaporative losses.
Watering is also important for the 37,000 trees in the urban tree canopy. For trees without irrigation systems like in parks, small trees should be watered weekly and large trees biweekly. A healthy and mature tree canopy is important for water conservation and to mitigate the impacts of the urban heat island effect.
Parks & Recreation also converts water intensive landscaping to xeric and native landscaping when appropriate. These changes highlight the natural beauty of our landscape and use less water. For example, the recent renovation of the 5th Street interchange median includes water-wise native landscaping. Throughout the city, other water-intensive, non-native plant life is being replaced with low water demanding native plants. Current and future park design also seeks to reduce the amount of irrigated turf and several sites for artificial turf are currently being considered.
Reducing water consumption has tremendous environmental and financial benefits. Reducing water use saves taxpayer dollars while simultaneously conserving this natural resource. Due to the drought, the City is not using water in fountains at City Hall, nor in the downtown area. The City is also using raw water instead of municipal water for irrigation purposes. This allows the City to use water for beneficial use, but at a lower cost. For example, the Riverfront properties of Las Colonias and Dos Rios are currently served by a recently constructed raw water line.
Lastly, the City is an active participant in the Drought Response Information Project (DRIP) Committee, a collaborative partnership with Grand Valley water providers that offers public education on water conservation practices across all water use classes (residential, industrial/commercial, and institutional). DRIP is a key component of the Grand Valley regional Drought Response Plan administered by the City of Grand Junction, Clifton Water District, the Ute Water Conservancy District, and the Town of Palisade. The Drought Response Plan is designed to provide options for consideration when dealing with prolonged drought events that stress water supplies. With the Grand Valley in D3 Extreme Drought at this time, the Drought Response Plan is currently focused on voluntary water conservation. Moving from Voluntary Water Restrictions to Mandatory Water Restrictions will be dependent on several factors to ensure water needs for essential uses are met for all Grand Valley water customers. The City of Grand Junction will continue to monitor storage levels in City reservoirs through Spring runoff. Should levels fall below minimum targets for storage or stream flows for the City or other Grand Valley water providers, water restrictions will become mandatory.
Contact: Greg LeBlanc, Sr. Assistant to the City Manager | 970-244 1557 or firstname.lastname@example.org