DONALA WATER & SANITATION DISTRICT

(719) 488-3603    WWW.DONALAWATER.ORG     AUGUST 2012

 

Water Use Report

 

June was the first full month of irrigation restrictions this year.  It’s a good thing too, because even with the program in effect, we had to supply more water in June than in any month in history.  Yes, it was hot and dry - no doubt!  And still is as I write this.  However, we still have many customers who are abusing the system by using much more water than necessary.

 As you might expect, we also took in more water revenue in June than any month before.  Although that helps cover the huge expense of meeting the demand, it defeats the purpose-the purpose of reducing demand!  Over 165 customers used more than 40,000 gallons of water in June.  They are easy to spot.  They are the ones with lush, green lawns and very high water bills-some close to $1,000 for a month.  Speaking of lush, green lawns-did you notice that after the few rain showers we had the second week in July, how your previously dry and yellowing lawn greened right up?  That should suggest that it didn’t dry up and die during the tough month of June.  Those of us who did abide by watering restrictions and reduced our irrigation, came out with just as nice of a lawn as those who over-watered.

 We had several customers who were convinced that the Waldo Canyon Fire (or one like it) would attack us, and decided to “drown” their lawn as a protective measure.  Please don’t do that!  Did you notice the photos and videos of the fire ravaged neighborhoods with nice green lawns, live trees, and completely burned out houses?   The fact is that if an inferno like that hits us, a wet lawn will not protect your home.  What will save you is the fire department using hoses attached to our fire hydrants supplied by the water in our storage tanks.  We worked hard to keep those tanks full during the fire (and pretty much all summer), and we can’t do it if our customers are wasting the water.

It seems like it has been a long summer already.  April and May were exceptionally hot and dry, and June was a killer!  If you remember last year, September was dry too.  If this keeps up, we will be pumping overtime to meet demand.  The result inevitably is higher costs and higher water bills.  The only real solution is to reduce your irrigation demand with more water-friendly landscaping.

IMPROVING YOUR BLUEGRASS LAWN

Hopefully, the weather will be cooling later this month. The period from the last weeks of August until around mid-September can be an excellent time to over-seed thin lawns. We have received numerous requests for copies of an article about how to over-seed lawns that we ran last summer. So, for those who need the information or missed the article last year, here it is.

 Over-seeding and How to Irrigate Seed

If your bluegrass lawn is thin you may want to consider thickening it by over-seeding. Over-seeding in July and early August, during the heat of the summer, is not recommended as hot weather impedes seed germination and shrivels seedlings (thus wasting water).  It’s best to wait until cooler weather favors the growth of new bluegrass. The best time for over seeding along the Front Range is usually mid-August to mid-September.  At that time, you can proceed as follows:

  • Mow the lawn to 1 inch and remove all loose vegetation.
  • Water the lawn to moisten it for core cultivation.
  • Core cultivation provides an excellent seed germination environment. Aerate heavily so core cultivation holes are 2 inches apart and 1 to 3 inches deep. Remove all loose vegetation from the lawn
  • Use a drop seeder to apply bluegrass seed at a rate of 3-4 pounds / 1000 square feet. Seed in two directions, north to south, and east to west, using half the seed in each direction, for more uniform coverage.
  • Lightly rake the seeded surface.  It’s ok to walk on it as this promotes contact between the seed and the soil surface for the seed that did not fall into the core cultivation holes.
  • Irrigate to keep the soil surface moist but not saturated. Call to request an irrigation waiver from Donala Water and Sanitation so you can moisten the seeded area daily until the new grass begins to emerge.  As the grass begins to grow, reduce the frequency of watering. Then irrigate on your allotted days.
  • Keep foot traffic (human and pet) to a minimum for 4-5 weeks.

ADDING TREES AND SHRUBS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE

Take advantage of summer-warmed soil and plant trees and shrubs when daytime temperatures cool.  Early fall can be a great time to plant in the Donala region. As long as planting is complete by the end of September, woody plants will have a chance to develop a good root system before winter sets in. If you need suggestions on what kinds of trees and shrubs do well here, the Water Wise Gardening Guide for the Donala region that was mailed to customers this spring is now available on line. Just go to donalawater.org, click on News and Events, and then click on landscape brochure to view xeriscape information including a list of plants that thrive in our unique climate.

ENTER YOUR XERISCAPE IN DONALA’S WATER WISE LANDSCAPE AWARD PROGRAM

This new water conservation incentive program was announced in last month’s newsletter. The program was created to recognize and reward residential customers who have successfully created inviting landscapes with reduced water.  Winners will be awarded:

Third place winner: Water usage credit on one month’s bill.

Second place winner: Water usage credit on two month’s bills.

First place winner: Water usage credit on three month’s bills.

Landscapes will be judged on water conservation (before and after installation water bills will be compared), functionality, sustainability, and beauty, including landscape health, seasonal interest, and appropriate plant selection. Landscapes may be professionally or homeowner designed and/or installed. So if you or someone in the neighborhood has created a great xeriscape, call Donala water at 488-3603 to have these landscapes considered for awards. Judging will take place around the 15th of September, so don’t wait . . . call now!