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City of Westminster issues drought watch

Despite good precipitation recently, Colorado drought levels are still high – Westminster is the first to issue water restrictions in metro area.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Standley Lake supplies the water to all 115,000 residents of Westminster, along with parts of Northglenn and Thornton. The drought levels have been severe to extreme in the area for more than six months. 

"A lot of people use the 2002 drought as a comparison. We're not quite there yet, but the lake is certainly below average," said Sarah Borgers, water resources and quality manager at the City of Westminster

On Monday, the city decided to issue what they call a "Drought Watch."

“It doesn’t require any mandatory restrictions," said Borgers. "We use a "Drought Watch" as primarily an awareness and education tool.”

Borgers said it's a way to formally let residents know that the reservoir is low, the snowpack at the headwaters of the Clear Creek river basin is low, and the soil moisture in between is low.

They are asking citizens to limit watering to three days a week or less, not to water during the daylight hours and to check their homes for leaks.

Westminster is the first city in the Denver area to issue a drought watch this year. Broomfield issued a drought watch last summer and still has it in place. 

Borgers said restrictions could be lifted if we get a very wet spring, but if not, they are preparing to possibly move to mandatory restrictions for summer.

Westminster is also encouraging citizens to convert their yards into more water friendly landscapes. They partner with Resource Central to offer programs like Grass to Garden.

“Customers can tear out grass and we’ll actually give them plant materials to replace it and give them all the educational tools they need to do that successfully," she said. "We’ve got a lot of really cool programs like that.”

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