Donala Water & Sanitation District

                    (719) 488-3603                         SEPTEMBER 2013

AMENDED POLICY ON UNPAID WATER AND SEWER BILLS

The Board of Directors has recently amended the policy on how long the District will allow customers to have an unpaid bill. The current policy allows customers to have an outstanding, unpaid balance for up to 90 days before water service can be terminated. Due to an increasing number of customers who continue to extend the payment of their bills up to the full 90 days, the Board of Directors, with input from the General Manager, have determined to reduce the amount of time unpaid bills can continue, to 60 days vs. the current 90 days. There are several reasons behind this change. The first being fundamental fairness to the majority of the customers who do pay their bill, in full, every month.   They are essentially carrying those who, for whatever reason, do not pay a water bill for three months, or only make partial payments. The second reason is to avoid placing customers in the position that the unpaid bill simply cannot be paid. During the summer months, when bills are substantially higher due to irrigation of lawns, monthly bills can easily reach $300 or more per month and if a customer is allowed to not make a payment for three months, there is a $900 bill which must be paid in full, or face termination of service. The change from 90 days to 60 days will become effective on January 1, 2014. This change does not change the due date, which remains on the 20th of each month. After a “5 day grace period”, there is a Late Payment Charge of 5% added to the bill. This notice will be repeated in coming newsletters to try and reach all of our customers. The website, www.donalawater.org will also carry this same message.

LATE SUMMER COLOR FOR YOUR LANDSCAPE

Warm days and cool nights, along with the recent afternoon thunderstorms, have been working in combination to produce spectacular flowers on some xeric perennials and shrubs this month. You may have noticed the 3 foot tall 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 (Buddliea davidii) are also blooming in profusion this month in shades, of purple and magenta, much to the delight of the local butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Another hummingbird favorite is the little known perennial Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria garettii), sometimes sold as California Fuschia. The 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 the 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 as they prepare for their southern migration. All these plants, along with the hummingbirds, can be seen at the Donala Gardens on Gleneagle Drive. We have also highlighted them on the District’s webpage.

 

WATER CONSERVATION SUMMARY

With the end of summer fast approaching, we have finally seen the return of the later summer monsoons. This rainfall has been a boon to stressed lawns and landscaping. The District still remains on Stage 3 irrigation standards (twice weekly) and will until such time as the City of Colorado Springs relaxes their standards. If you remember, we are contractually obligated to mirror the City’s irrigation standards as part of the contract that allows Donala to receive the water which is coming off of our Willow Creek Ranch. The amount of water that the District has received greatly exceeded our beginning of the year estimates.   We anticipate that we will be able to obtain our full, annual decreed amount of 280 acre feet of water. This has allowed us to actually stop pumping our wells for several days in August.    

The July records show the typical high use in the hottest part of the year, in the number of homes that have used large amounts of water. You will note however, that as a result of the storms in the later part of July, the demand has dropped considerably.

           

Homes using greater than 40,000 gallons:

                                    May = 4                       June = 35                    July = 27

           

Homes using greater than 30,000 gallons:

                                    May = 12                     June = 121                   July = 93

NEWLY UPDATED WEBSITE

If you have visited the District’s website recently, you will have noticed a new look and a new format. We are still adding features which will enhance your ability to find useful information about the District operations, as well as resources to assist in water conservation and landscaping. If you have comments, or suggestions, please drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or give us a call at 488-3603.

FAREWELL AND WELCOME

Shortly after you read this, our Office Manager, Jackie Sipes, will have retired from Donala after 12 years. Jackie has been a tremendous asset to the District and a friend to many. We will miss her smile and quick wit, but we do wish her well in retirement. Betsy Bray has been promoted to Office Manager. Betsy has been with the District for 20 years and is well versed in operations. With Betsy being promoted, we have hired Sharon Samek as the District’s new Accountant. Sharon previously was the Branch Manager at People’s National Bank. Welcome aboard, Sharon.