Voluntary Water Shortage Watch Ends

Horsetooth Reservoir at sunrise; Photo by Jan Nimlo

Fort Collins Interim City Manager Kelly DiMartino signed a declaration and order to end the Water Shortage Watch on Oct. 1, pursuant to Fort Collins City Code Section 26-167(a) and the Water Shortage Action Plan (WSAP), due to improving water resource conditions and less demand on water supplies with the irrigation season ending. For more information about the WSAP, visit fcgov.com/WSAP.

The Water Shortage Watch was enacted because of possible limitations on Fort Collins Utilities’ ability to treat Cache la Poudre River water supplies following the Cameron Peak Fire. Thunderstorms and flash floods caused sediment, ash, and debris from the burn area to periodically flow into the river and impair water quality. These runoff events, in addition to irrigation demands during what was a hot and dry summer, had the potential to create a water shortage. This was the first time a voluntary watch had been declared following the implementation of the WSAP.

The impacts to the watershed and river quality are expected to be long-term. Utilities maintains water quality meters within the upper Poudre River to provide early-warning alerts to water treatment staff before post-fire pollution can reach the supply intake.

Utilities also is partnering with other organizations on post-wildfire watershed restoration and recovery efforts with the goal of stabilizing hillslopes, reducing erosion, and limiting water quality impacts to the Poudre River. As part of this effort, wood mulch was applied by helicopter to approximately 5,000 high-priority acres in the burn area from mid-July through early September.

Utilities continues to monitor source water quality, the severity of the watershed impacts from the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome wildfires, drought conditions, and snowpack levels. Depending on the severity of these conditions, Utilities may look to the community for help reducing water use when necessary. Stay updated on the status of Utilities’ water quality and supply by visiting fcgov.com/water-status, emailing [email protected], calling 970-416-8040 or V/TDD 711.

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