The board is asking water customers to use only what they need when watering outdoors.
"Our customers have done a good job of using water wisely, but this year, saving water matters even more," Greg Fisher, manager of demand planning for Denver Water, said. "We need customers to cut back water use and be mindful of the impact of the dry conditions on supply availability."
Denver Water says customers can cut their outdoor water use by:
• Watering only two days a week, and using a day of rain to skip watering.
• Only watering the areas of your yard that are dry. For example, if shady areas look fine, only water the dry areas that get the most sun exposure.
• Watering early in the morning or in the evening to avoid evaporation.
• Adjusting sprinkler systems throughout the summer, starting with using less water this spring. Don't just set your sprinkler system once and forget about it.
• Watering two minutes less.
"We're seeing conditions very similar to the drought that began in 2002, where we learned that reservoir storage is only one indicator of drought, and those reservoir levels can drop quickly when we don't get much rain and snow," Fisher said. "If the dry weather continues, our reservoirs may not fill and we will be vulnerable if there is low snowpack in 2013. We need to maintain our reserves in case we are entering the first in a series of dry years. We must consider the long-term potential supply outlook."
Denver's mandatory watering rules for summer will begin May 1. The following rules are always in effect during the summer in Denver, but the board says they could change based on conditions:
• No lawn watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
• Do not water more than three days per week (there are no assigned days for watering).
• Do not waste water by allowing it to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.
• Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete and asphalt.
• Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
• Do not water while it is raining or during high winds.
According to the Denver Water Board, customers in Denver use their water the following ways:
Denver Water's total water use by category:
• 48 percent single-family homes
• 21 percent business and industry
• 17 percent multifamily homes
• 9 percent public agencies
• 5 percent unaccounted
Average residential customer's water usage:
• 55 percent outdoor use
• 11 percent toilet
• 9 percent clothes washer
• 8 percent shower
• 7 percent leaks
• 6 percent faucet
• 2 percent other
• 1 percent bath
• 1 percent dishwasher
Denver's Parks and Recreation Department says it's going to cut its water use by 10 percent effective immediately. The department says it's going to cut back from 30 inches per acre to 27 inches per acre. By doing so, the department says taxpayers will save $450,000.
"For us reducing one inch of water for our entire park system that basically means we save $150,000," Jill Wuertz with the Department of Parks & Recreation said.
Wuertz is hoping May and June will be rainy months to help moisten the dry season.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)