Not to beat a dead horse, but Colorado didn’t have the best winter in terms of snowfall. As with much of the mountain west, a large chunk of the water for the summer months comes from snowmelt. The city of Aspen, CO is looking to implement “stage one” water restrictions, asking residents to voluntarily reduce their usage by 10 percent.
According to the U.S. drought monitor, the Aspen area is experiencing a moderate drought, even after the one of the driest months of March in history. By the end of the March, SNOTEL sites at McClure Pass and Independence Pass reached their lowest measured snow water equivalents ever! A wet April and cooler spring temperatures so far have minimized snowmelt, but the S.W.E. is similar to 2012, the last time stage one restrictions went into effect. Other areas of Colorado are much worse worse off after receiving as little as 30% of their average seasonal snowfall.
What do stage one restrictions mean for Aspen residents? Right now, it’s purely voluntary, and the city suggests simple things like watering your lawn at night, or every other day. Maybe don’t wash the Porsche and Range Rover for a few days? You get the idea. If stage two restrictions go into effect later in the summer, a 15-20% reduction in water usage will be mandatory. The city council will vote on restrictions Monday.