July 26, 2022 |
In Rawlins, the levels of treated water in the municipal storage tanks dropped below 50 percent on Friday, prompting city officials to begin taking a harder line against residents who violate watering restrictions.
Community Relations Coordinator Mira Miller said the hot dry weather has pushed the tenuous water situation in Rawlins to a critical point. With tank levels at 48 percent and water usage up because of the hot weather, Miller said violators will be fined for watering their lawns during restricted times.
Pictured above: Water storage tank in Rawlins. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.
Miller said warnings have been issued to some residents since the water restrictions first went into effect on March 3rd, but fines have not been levied. With water supplies reaching a critical point, city officials want to stop any violations. The triple whammy of the city’s compromised water infrastructure system, drought conditions and the recent scorching hot weather have driven up water usage and lengthened the time it takes for the storage tanks to refill. Miller said the fines are meant to prevent going into a crisis mode.
At the beginning of July, the storage tank levels stood at 93 percent of capacity, according to the flow and storage data on the city website. By the second week of July, levels had fallen to 75 percent and the downward trend continued with a big drop occurring late last week to below the halfway mark. Water use hit its highest levels of the summer last week, jumping nearly 10 percent from 2 million gallons a day to around 2.2 million gallons for six out of eight days between July 15 and the 22.
According to city documents, the treatment plant receives around 1.5 million gallons of water a day into the treatment plant and residents use 1 million gallons per day for household use. Because of the hot weather, flows are down and usage is up. Because of the infrastructure issues, flows are about half of what they traditionally are.
Miller said city parks also will be watered less to send a clear message about the seriousness of the situation.
Beginning Tuesday, fines will be levied without a warning being issued first.
According to the city water restrictions issued in May, Residences/businesses may only water one day per week before 10 am or after 6 pm. Even-numbered residences/businesses may water on Thursdays and odd-numbered residences/businesses may water on Monday. The city recommends a maximum of up to 60 minutes of watering for each zone/area of turf on the designated day to provide a proper soaking.
Trees, bushes, gardens, etc., may be watered as needed using a manually operated hose with an automatic shut-off valve before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
Other guidelines may be found on the city’s website.