ALAMOSA — City of Alamosa utility customers will likely be asked to voluntarily restrict water usage soon.
Alamosa city councilors on Wednesday discussed watering restrictions in light of dry conditions that are likely to persist throughout the summer. The councilors leaned towards voluntary rather than mandatory restrictions, at least initially.
The council will likely consider an ordinance during its next meeting to seek voluntary restrictions.
Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks shared with the council what Monte Vista and Denver have enacted as far as watering restrictions. Both began restrictions on May 1, in effect until October. In Monte Vista all municipal water users — residential, business and commercial — are restricted from May 1 to October 31 to odd numbered addresses watering on odd numbered days and even numbered addresses on even numbered days.
Denver’s restrictions from May 1 to October 1 include no watering during the day (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), watering no more than three days a week and other restrictions.
Brooks said if Alamosa councilors were interested in water restrictions, it might make sense to institute something in line with Monte Vista’s restrictions with residents at odd numbered addresses watering on odd numbered days and even numbered addresses watering on even days. The council would need to determine if the restrictions would be voluntary or mandatory, she added.
She said in the past when Alamosa has asked for voluntary watering restrictions, the city has had good compliance from residents.
“I think we should start with voluntary,” said Councilman David Broyles. He suggested the city could put the word out through the water bills and the newspaper seeking voluntary compliance.
Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman added he believed it should be voluntary with educational information provided to customers on how to conserve and reduce water usage and why it is important to do so.
Councilman Jan Vigil said the city could also promote xeriscaping efforts.
Brooks said those are some of the goals of the Water Smart team comprised of city staff and community members.
Vigil referred to Denver’s restrictions that include “do not waste water by letting it spray concrete and asphalt” and said Adams State is watering concrete.
Councilor Liz Thomas Hensley said ASU might need to make some changes in their sprinkler systems to prevent that, which would also result in savings ultimately to the university.
Councilman Michael Carson was concerned people might water more on their designated days than they would otherwise if the city went to odd/even watering schedules. Brooks said they might water more deeply but less often, so “we have to be careful on how judgmental we are.”
Vigil said, “You can have a nice looking lawn and not water every day.”
Brooks said it is actually preferable to water less often.
Hensley favored voluntary measures at this point, and Carson said education was important.
Vigil said as dry as it’s been, mandatory restrictions may become necessary at some point.
Mayor Coleman said he would rather ease into it and get community feedback and support.