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Donala Water & Sanitation District


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




Last month we commented on what a long, hot summer it had been.  That was written before July was over – the hottest July in U.S. history.  As I write this in mid-August there is little relief in sight, at least in rain.

Our customers used a lot of water in July.  Many households (128) used over 40,000 gallons, some as high as 90,000.  We are well into a record year for water production, and the costs to go with it.  The next article describes what the drought has done to our water supply.

Although mandatory water restrictions end on Labor Day, we ask – PLEASE – continue with the odd-even day program.  You might remember that last September was also hot and dry and we set a record for water use.  Indications were that many folks were “catching up” their lawns because there were no restrictions.  Please help us out and stick to your program.   Better yet – take this opportunity to make some landscaping changes to avoid the high use and high water bills next summer.  See the myriad of information our Conservation Manager has put out in newsletters and on our website.




You might remember our special newsletter with this (2011) title last September.  The intention here is to bring you up to date on Donala’s activities to ensure a secure water future.

1.  Willow Creek Ranch – Our Leadville Ranch Water case cleared the courts last fall, and we own an average of 280 acre feet of renewable water.  The word “average” is key.  With this year’s drought and minimum snowpack, we will probably only realize a little over half of that supply. 

2.  CSU connection at Northgate – The ranch water flows down the Arkansas, and through a complex set of arrangements and exchanges; then is treated and delivered to us at Northgate Road by Colorado Springs Utilities.  Their charges are high and our O&M costs increased close to 70% this year.  The bottom line though is that we have a lasting source to go along with our depleting well supply. 

3.  Infrastructure upgrades – Along with the physical connection of our distribution system to CSU at Northgate, we have embarked on the first three of several projects to move water through our system.  These are projects authorized by our debt and mill levy election of 2010.  Pumps and power are being upgraded at our Latrobe and Jessie Drive booster stations, and a transmission pipeline is being expanded in Baptist Road.  Other efforts in the future will include new pipelines and storage facilities.

4.  More water supplies – The Willow Creek water represents about 25% of our total demand.  In this past year we completed an initial study to utilize our wastewater effluent for another 30-40%.  Our thanks to the dozen or so customers who participated in our Citizens Advisory Committee in that effort.  The result is that we believe there is a viable supply there and we will further investigate the possibilities over the next few years.  Willow Creek gives us some breathing room – until about 2020 at our current rate of consumption and aquifer depletion.

5. Rate of consumption vs. conservation - the key phrase in that last sentence is the “current rate of consumption”.  The demand on our system and supply drives the costs, and the demand during the irrigation season is way too high.  Our tiered rates make sure that the high users pay the highest fees.  However, we all share in the base costs of administering the supply.  The only solution is conservation.  The only real conservation is landscape design – xeriscaping to more water-friendly yards.

6.  Rates and taxes – Unfortunately our costs have increased and are directly proportionate to the demand.  Rates went up an average of 46% this year while costs went up 70%.  Over the next two months we will be reviewing the process and discussing our rate and tax structure.  Board meetings of September 20th and October 18th are your chances to provide input to the process.  The final board meeting on December 6th will be the last chance.  Rates and taxes will be adopted along with the 2013 Budget.



Warm days and cool nights, along with the occasional afternoon thundershower, should work together to produce spectacular flowers on some xeric perennials and shrubs this month. You may have noticed the 3 foot lavender spires of the shrub Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) in the neighborhood, as well as the more rounded dark blue forms of Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris clandonensis). The Blue Mist Spirea also provides winter interest when the dried flowers of summer turn to attractive silver seed heads in the winter. Butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) are also blooming madly this month in shades of purple and magenta, much to the delight of the local butterflies and hummingbirds. Another hummingbird favorite is the little known perennial Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria garettii), sometimes sold as California Fuschia. This light green leafy perennial spreads rapidly to form a 9-12 inch high groundcover bearing masses of small bright orange-scarlet tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds like a magnet. Another reliable hummingbird attraction is the upright 12-24 inch tall Agastache tribe, including Sonoran Sunset Hyssop, Coronado Hyssop, and Double Bubble Mint. These members of the mint family have scented leaves in addition to scented, rose or orange colored nectar-rich blooms, and feed hungry hummingbirds on the migration south. All these plants, along with the hummingbirds, can be seen at Donala Gardens on Gleneagle Drive.



Existing landscapes have gotten by with three days of water per week all summer and watering more often than three days a week during September will not contribute to plant health.  Even though early fall has some of the hottest days of the year, the days are becoming shorter so landscape watering requirements are less than in June, July and August.  Remember that less frequent watering results in more drought tolerant root systems, so please continue to irrigate on a three day a week basis this fall. Resist the temptation to water whenever just because restrictions are lifted on the first of the month and help conserve our water supply!



Donala’s General Manager will be retiring next June.  The plan is to hire an Assistant Manager in January with the potential of moving up to the GM position in June 2013.  Water and /or wastewater management is a MUST.  Special District or Government experience, as well as water/wastewater operations experience are a PLUS.  Excellent Benefits; salary DOE.  Qualified applicants only should contact Dana Duthie, General manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Resumes will be accepted through October 15, 2012.