FAQs

1.  Water Supply - What is the status of Donala’s water supply?

The District’s water supply is the Denver Basin of deep aquifer well water.  On paper the water rights go with the land and Donala “owns” all of the rights under our service area.  We also own the water underneath Fox Run Park.  The problem is that not all of the water on paper is really accessible.  It cannot all be withdrawn and some of what there is exceeds usable temperature and quality limits.  The softer number associated with how long our supply will last depends on growth in the area.  We know the aquifers are depleting and we are actively seeking renewable sources.

2.  Growth vs Water - So if we have a water shortage how can we support all the growth in the neighborhood?

Most of the growth you see now is to the north of Baptist Road in the Triview Metropolitan District (Jackson Creek) and the Town of Monument.  Donala itself is close to buildout.  As of 2016 there are several lots yet to build on in the Paradise Villas Townhomes.  Otherwise, there are only a handful of vacant lots and a little commercial area that can be developed in Donala.  We have no control over the development to our north, although we are trying to work with them to solve our collective water issues.

3.  Irrigation Rationing - Why do we have to ration our irrigation water when the residents  of Colorado Springs do not?  

Colorado Springs has a large supply of renewable (snowmelt) water as their supply.  As long as there is a good snow dump in the mountains every winter, their reservoirs stay reasonably full, and they can more than meet their demand.  Donala has purchased a ranch in Leadville, CO for the water rights and we are negotiating contracts with Pueblo and Colorado Springs to be able to store this water and deliver this water to Donala's residents.  However, water still remains a precious commodity in this arid area and Donala residents are requested to remain "good stewards" of this commodity with "Water Standards" that are published for the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Please feel free to call if you would like to discuss this further. 

4.  Water Conservation – Is water conservation really that big a deal here?  I came from the East (NW, South?) and we never had a water shortage.

This is the high plains desert of the Southwest.  Water has always been an issue, but only recently becoming a problem.  The downstream states that use the Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers (both originate in Colorado) are growing faster than their allotted supply would accommodate.  So is Colorado.  The Denver Basin of aquifers is drying up.  Besides just being in short supply, the quest to find more water becomes extremely expensive.  It just makes sense then – the more our customer conserve, the less water they need.  The less they need, the less we have to purchase.  The less we purchase, the less it will cost our customers.  Therefore, we will always push in house conservation, water-friendly landscaping and irrigation rationing (if necessary), and even innovative supplies of reclaimed water to solve our long term issues.   

5.  Hydrant Flushing - I see your crews blowing water out of fire hydrants periodically.  Isn’t that a waste of water?  

We flush the distribution system every spring just before high demand hits us for irrigation by blowing out the lines at the fire hydrants.  It serves to flush out the iron sediment that has accumulated in the pipes over the relatively dormant winter.  There are some parts of the system that are on “dead end” lines where we have to flush more often.  If we don’t, the iron residue gets into the homes, and although iron is not a health hazard, it tends to make for “rusty” white laundry.  Flushing also helps to test the fire hydrants to be sure they will work if they are ever really needed.

6. Minimum Fees - What is the minimum fee on by bill for?  

The minimum “service fees” are charged to help us pay our bills that are always there whether water is pumped or not.  Salaries, legal fees, engineering fees, etc. all accumulate whether we produce one drop of water or not.  As a governmental entity we are a “not for profit” organization that must cover our expenses.  Minimum fees help us do that.

7.  Possible Leaks - We were gone for most of the month, yet my water bill shows thousands of gallons of usage and a large expense.  How’s that possible?


Normally the culprit in such a situation is a leaking or running toilet.  A fully open flapper valve in a toilet can run up to 5 gallons a minute.  That’s over 216,000 gallons and thousands of dollars in one month alone.  If you are going to be gone for a while consider turning off the supply valve to your toilets.  See answer to FAQ #8 for another explanation.

8.  Irrigation Leaks - I didn’t run my sprinkler system all month.  How can I have used so much water?

Especially in the spring and fall, when temperatures dip below freezing at night, a full irrigation system can spring a leak when it thaws out.  Normally that will show up at the vacuum breaker (mushroom shaped device) outside.  Even a small leak at a sprinkler head can run enough to accumulate a lot of leakage.  If you are not going to run your irrigation system, consider turning off the supply to it when you are gone.  If you do run it on an automatic setting, alert your neighbor to your “normal” run times and days, so that they can stop a “runaway” system.

9.  Leak Payment - If I have a leaking toilet or another high bill do I have to pay for the water?

District policy is that all water that passes through the system must be accounted for.  Donala began a Leak Policy Adjustment Program in 2014 to help folks that had a high bill due to leaks.  If you find you have a leak, call us and we will work with you on your bill. We only 2 leaks adjustments in a 3 year period.  

10.  Meter Errors - How do you know your meter is not wrong?  Anything mechanical can be in error.

We are switching over to new meters that read your usage when water passes through your pipes.  We are also able to pinpoint the time that the water goes through your household pipes. As of Fall 2016, there are only about one fourth of the homes that have this new technology. We are budgeting about one fourth each year until all homes are retrofitted.  We also have ideas on helping you "test" your meter yourself so that you can feel confident that your meter is correct.  Please call us if you would like to discuss the accuracy of your meter.

11.  No Bill in the Mail - I didn’t get my bill last month.  Do I still have to pay for it by the 20th

Every customer should expect a water bill every month.  We cannot control the mail system though.  If you are in doubt, call us no later than the 20th of each month and you can get the amount due over the phone.  A better idea may be to enroll in the Automatic Withdrawal plan with the District and your bank.

12.  Gray Residue – Hardness - What is the gray, flaky residue on my faucets and shower head?

Calcium.  Our water is on the “hard” side and hardness manifests itself as calcium carbonate.  It often will show up in homes with hot tubs or where there is a “super” hot water heater – the kind that produces instant, scalding hot water.  Heat brings calcium out of solution and can show up as gray flakes.  We recommend you turn down the hot water heater a bit – if it’s too hot to touch, you probably don’t need it that hot.  Some customers also install water softeners.  They can be purchased fairly inexpensively at most of the big home supply stores.  We do not endorse any one product, but we caution about adding one chemical (sodium – salt) to treat for another (calcium).

13.  Red Water - Why does my water sometimes turn reddish or “muddy” looking?

That’s iron.  Our system literally treats 99.9% of the natural iron out of the water.  However, that 0.1% can come out of solution – especially if your system has been dormant for a while, or if your hot water heater is going bad.  If you encounter the problem, try running the water for a while.  If it persists, call us.  We will come and flush the distribution system near your house.  If that doesn’t work you might consider checking out the hot water heater.  It might need to be drained or replaced. 


14.  Pink Water - Why is my water sometimes pink or purple? -

The purplish tint comes from an over-feed of Potassium Permanganate (KMNO4).  The only impurities in our aquifer water are iron and manganese – neither of which are health hazards, but both (if not filtered out) may cause rust or black specks (manganese) in white laundry.  Although many water utilities on the Front Range do not treat for these elements, Donala does with multi-media filters and a chemical infusion of KMNO4.  We run a fine line on the feed and occasionally (three times between 1993 and 2011) a mechanical malfunction causes a “slug” of pink water sent out in the distribution system.  It too is not a health hazard and has no taste.  If you encounter pink water, by all means call Donala – we may not know exactly which part of our system got the “slug.”  We will come and flush the local fire hydrant, and customers should also flush their own system by simply running the water for a while until it clears up. 


15.  Fluoride –  Is there fluoride in our water?  Should there be?

Good question.  The American dental community and the EPA can’t seem to make up their minds on this one.  Fluoride occurs naturally in our water at about 1.5 mg/L.  The maximum limit is 4.0 mg/L.  There is no plan to try and add or extract fluoride from the water at this time.

 16.  Water Quality – How can I find out what contaminants are in my water?

Check out our annual Consumer Confidence Report posted on the website at www.donnalawater.org.    

17.  Frozen Pipes - What do I do if my pipes freeze and spring a leak?

First and foremost, turn off the water supply.  Know where your shutoff valve is and teach everyone else in the house as well.  If the leak is upstream of the valve, or the valve doesn’t stop the flow, call the District.  We will turn it off at the curb stop outside (ASSUMING THE CURBSTOP IS ACCESSIBLE).  If there was a leak you will need to call a plumber to get it fixed.  If the pipes simply froze, try to locate the frozen area.  DO NOT use a blow torch to thaw it out.  Try a hair dryer or a commercial pipe thawing device (plumber).  NOTE:  To keep this situation from happening NEVER leave your heat off in a house, and consider leaving a drip in a faucet that is farthest away from your incoming line when the outside air temperatures are going to be in the negative numbers.

18.  Drip Payment - If I do leave a drip in my faucet to prevent a freeze do I have to pay for that water?

Believe it or not we do get that question quite often.  The answer is yes.  We would offer however, that the 10-30 gallons you might “waste” in a night (3-10 cents) would be well worth the cost of the water that can blow through the system with a leak, not to mention the cost of a plumber to fix it.

19.  Water Pressure - What’s with the water pressure?  All of a sudden I don’t have any – or my pressure is very high?

Invariably the problem is the pressure regulator(s) on your system.  Most homes have two of them – one before the meter and one after the “offshoot” to the irrigation system.  They come off the shelf set at about 55-65 psi, and that’s normally the minimum pressure delivered to our houses.  When a pressure regulator (conical looking device) goes bad it usually shuts down, creating little or no pressure.  Sometimes it will open wide up, or even pulsate.  If in doubt, check your pressure at a faucet with a pressure gage.  If it is too low you will have to have the regulator replaced.  If it is high pressure, then you need to determine if it is too high.  We do not recommend pressure higher than about 55-65 psi to protect your internal plumbing.  When you replace a regulator (or call a plumber to do so) be sure you get the same type and size that is on your system.