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Donala Water & Sanitation District

ANNUAL REVIEW/UPDATE - 2012

 

Annual reviews and updates to the Donala Water Conservation Plan will be accomplished in February/March of the following year. Because of the variations in weather from year to year, and the fact that over 50% of Donala’s water is used for irrigation, results vary significantly from year to year. Where appropriate a “base year” might be selected that is deemed as more normal.

 

 

Overall Water Consumption

 

The year 2012 was hotter and drier than even 2011 and significantly more so than the designated “normal” year of 2010. In most cases it will be compared to the “base year” of 2010. It rained on 21 days during June, July and August for 2.46 inches, as compared to 37 days and 6.54 inches in 2010. September was also dry and closer to the extremely dry and hot September, 2010. Overall Donala’s

non-golf course customers used over 359,896,000 gallons of water – 9% more than in 2011 and even 3.4% more than in 2010. During the months of June - August they used 6.8% more than in 2011 and almost 10% more than in 2010.

The Gleneagle Golf Course used more water in 2012 as well – 55,588,000 gallons total, 28.8% more than in 2011. During June - August they used 19.8% more water than the same period of 2011 and 30% more than in 2010.

Water Rate Structure

 

Goal – 15% Savings

 

Result – Although the graduated rate structure may have contributed to less individual usage, it apparently has not taken true effect yet. Homeowners used 360,000,000 gallons of water in 2012 vs. 330,000,000 gallons in 2011.

We had about the same number of customers who used over 40,000 gallons in one month (400 in 2012 vs. 367 in 2011), which was still less than the high of 587 in 2010. That indicates that for at least those customers, the higher rates have helped to curb their abuse, which was still less than the high of 587 in 2010.

Overall – customers still used more water during the irrigation season of 2012 than in 2011 or 2010. When it comes to keeping their lawns lush and green, they have not felt the “hurt” of high rates enough to comply. The golf course had showed a 5.2% improvement in 2011 over 2010 by taking advantage more of the reduced rate reuse and augmentation water (Jake’s Lake). But again in 2012 during the hot months, they too did what was necessary to keep the course green, using 19.8% more water.

An overall estimate is that no water savings can be attributed to the rate structure in 2012.

 

 

 

Water Tap/Development Fee Structure

 

Goal – No specific savings percentage.

Result – No construction due to the economic slowdown. Therefore, no savings noted.

 

 

Regulatory Measures

 

Goal – 15% savings.

Result – No savings noted. The lack of construction translates to the lack of results when working with the Regional Building Department and new landscaping. The number of violations processed for irrigation restrictions did more than double (131 vs. 58) from 2011.

Irrigation Rationing

 

Goal – 15% savings.

Result - As described above under “Water Rate Structure,” actual irrigation during the rationing season (June – August) increased 19.8% from 2011. It could be that more customers figured out how to “bypass” the system by watering more at night to avoid detection, or simply increasing their watering times on their allotted days. Off peak use did stay steady and this is partially due to a significant effort by District staff to emphasize use of the rationing schedule during non-mandatory months. More customers seemed to comply.

What we continue to see from the rationing program is a reduction in the daily peak demand. Assuming that most customers adhere to their Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday irrigation schedule, only half of the supply is on demand each day. This is a significant benefit to overall Donala conservation.

With the total 9.1% increase in water use vs. 2011, no savings is attributed to the rationing program.

Low Water Use Landscape Measures

 

Goal - 10% more xeriscaped yards per year.

Result - Less than 1%. Mainly due to the economy, with a number of Donala customers out of work, there were very few xeriscape projects initiated in 2012. A baseline “inventory” of water-friendly yards was established before the 2010 irrigation season began. Of 2133 total single family yards, 274 are mostly in the natural wooded environment of Fox Run/Pines, leaving 1866 yards to survey as of 2012 (includes new construction). The Conservation Manager designed landscapes for 22 customers. Five followed up in 2012 with actual changes, increasing the total of xeriscaped yards (including others done on their own) to 121 (6.5%) that have xeriscaping in some manner that encompasses at least 30% of the front (visible) area.

Donala hired a part-time environmental/conservation manager to help train the community and design landscape projects in 2011. A demonstration garden was put in and we are working with the large-lot customers (townhomes) and others to promote more xeriscaping. It is believed that these efforts, coupled with the significant increase in the rate structure, will result in more water conservation attributed to landscaping. However, as of February 2013 the Conservation Manager has had to resign and she has not been replaced.

Efficient Irrigation Measures

 

Goal – No specific savings percentage.

Result – Of the landscape changes done as a result of the District Conservation Manager suggestions it is estimated that about 30% of the resulting savings would be from new/upgraded irrigation systems. The rest would be attributed to the landscaping itself.

Water Efficient Fixtures and Appliances

 

Goal - 5% savings

Result - The chart below shows the increase in rebates paid out for retrofitted appliances.

 

Appliance                                            Prior                            2012                        Total     

 

Washing Machines                              119                             26                             145

Low Flush Toilets                                 87                             20                             107

Low Flow Showerheads                        13                               2                                 15

Rain Sensors                                          4                               0                                 4

Irrigation Controllers                              9                               0                                  9

Dishwashers                                           29                               29                                58

TOTAL                                                  261                             77                            338

NOTE: Add 20 total appliances for new construction (5 per house) 20                   358                

Assuming 2546 customer accounts, 97 new appliances represents another 38% increase. Assuming an average of 5 appliance/fixtures per home – 2546 homes x 5 = 12,730 total appliance/fixtures.

358 = 2.8%. District goal of 60% by 2018 is unrealistic due to the slowdown of construction and the economy. No new goal will be set for another 2-3 years until a determination of the economy can be assessed.

Water Reuse Programs

 

Goal - 50% of Golf Course irrigation water.

Result - 49% of Golf Course irrigation water, while 60% came from a combination of reuse and surface water (Jake’s Lake) augmentation. This is a slight decrease from use habits in 2011 (69%) – mostly due to overall increase of water usage on the course.

Non-Potable Supplies

 

Goal - 60% (with reuse water) of Golf Course irrigation water

Result - 62% of Golf Course irrigation water. 11% from Jake’s Lake alone.

NOTE: 2011 was a normal year for the golf course. However, 2012 saw a marked increase in water use, mainly to offset the extremely hot and dry conditions.

Distribution System Leak Detection/Repair

 

Goal – 90% of water produced is also billed.

Result - An average of 95% water produced was billed. The District repaired three major distribution system leaks in the neighborhood.

 

 

Water Meter Exchange/Repair program

 

Goal - 80% efficiency.

Result - The District repaired or replaced 255 meters in 2012. We are in a ten year cycle now. A random sampling of 50 accounts where the meters had been repaired/replaced in 2011 showed an increase (savings) of 22% water recorded with a new/rebuilt meter. Overall efficiency remains at 70% plus.

OTHER MEASURES AND PROGRAMS

Potable Water Reuse Potential

 

Donala completed a study of an indirect potable reuse project in 2011 – Donala’s Extended Water Supply Study (DEWSS). Several options were considered and one was tentatively identified as the prime potential ($7M). The cost is prohibitive at this time, but the project will continue to be investigated with a goal of presenting a decision matrix by 2015. In addition, a direct potable reuse application will be further investigated at that time.

NOTE: Donala completed the legal and engineering projects associated with bringing in renewable water from the Willow Creek Ranch. Agreements were formed with Colorado Springs utilities and the Pueblo Board of Water Works, and construction was completed that will bring approximately 400 AF of water into the District every year. That represents about 30% of the total demand and pushes the demand/supply curve prognosis to beyond 2020. Unfortunately the increase in O&M costs associated with imported water will exceed $1.5 M in 2012 alone (70% increase). Therefore – projects like a potable reuse system and more renewable water will be delayed until affordable.

 

 

 

 

Efficient Use of Wastewater Effluent

Donala leases all of its excess effluent to agricultural irrigation entities. We will continue to search for viable customers for lease/sale of the excess effluent that would otherwise be wasted down Monument Creek.

SUMMARY

As usual, the weather played another large role in the water conservation program in 2012. It was an extremely hot and dry year, and the water usage showed it. Although water rates increased significantly, the desire for a lush, green lawn by most customers demanded extensive water use. In many cases the weather and lack of precipitation forced higher irrigation simply to keep lawns from dying.

 

There was an average number of “glutton” customers – those who used over 40,000 gallons in one month.   The tiered rate structure seems to be working to a degree with the extremely high users, but it has not affected everyone as much. The rationing program continues to be effective in curbing the peak day demand, but is not contributing to as much overall conservation as we would like.

 

There was still very little xeriscape landscaping initiated in the community. The addition of a Conservation Manager helped to encourage the program, but the economy and the realization that xeriscaping is expensive is still the major issue. Unfortunately the Conservation manager had to resign. Her services are difficult to duplicate ant the economic realities of running a business oriented enterprise dictate a more prudent approach. Hopefully the training materials and demonstrations we have provided will continue to benefit our customers and encourage continued and more conservation.

 

A potable reuse project would definitely be the ultimate in water conservation, but the costs are prohibitive. In fact, for what a reuse project would cost to use all excess effluent we could purchase another renewable water supply source (ranch/farm) and import the water. This obviously goes against the desire that most in Colorado have of saving agriculture. We will continue to investigate a DEWSS related project, but delay any action until the supply/demand curve requires it, and hopefully the technology makes it more affordable.