Drought Emergency Plan Approved by Greeley City Council

Rain Drops on a street.

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Greeley City Council approved a new Drought Emergency Plan Tuesday, February 16.

The plan will begin by asking residents to restrict their use of outdoor water throughout the summer during officially declared droughts, in addition to moving up financial disincentives for excessive use during more severe droughts. City and state officials are currently preparing for an official drought this summer, yet restrictions in Greeley have not been determined yet.

The new plan also calls for increasingly restricted watering schedules based on how deep impending droughts are. It comes in a time for the city’s annual April projections, which are if the city will have enough water throughout the year also would sustain a hot summer watering season. Greeley officials make projections based on the city’s diversified water supplies, which are more plentiful than other communities.

Greeley has not had to utilize drought restrictions for nearly two decades, while climate experts considered the drought of 2002 the worst in 300 years. Single-family residents have had the option to use a water budget since 2017 to aid in managing water usage.

Water budgets will not go away under this new drought plan. Still, the allowed water usage in that budget would decrease at higher drought level years, with residents having to curtail their outdoor watering. The new plan will only count for outdoor water as indoor water usage will not be subject to drought restrictions. Yet, all residents and business owners are encouraged to increase their efforts in conserving water.

The city will operate under four levels of drought restrictions under the new plan, which are Mild (Level I), Moderate (Level II), Severe (Level 3), and Catastrophic (Level 4). The city would rely on voluntary reductions in water use by water customers under Level 1 and Level 2 droughts, with rates increasing applying as a disincentive for excessive water use while under Levels 3 or 4.

The city might begin issuing tickets or fines if conditions reached a level of noncompliance. The city will implement communication and tools to drive water saving that meet use reduction targets depending on the severity of a drought.

Greeley customers will be asked to comply with guidance to reduce water to meet the drought response targets, which are as follows:

  • Level 1 (Mild) Drought Response
    • 15 percent reduction in water budgets and water use
    • Watering a maximum of 3 days per week
  • Level 2 (Moderate) Drought Response
    • 25 percent reduction in water budgets and water use
    • Watering a maximum of 2 days per week
  • Level 3 (Severe) Drought Response
    • 50 percent reduction in water budgets and water use
    • Watering restricted to 1 day per week
  • Level 4 (Severe Emergency)
    • 70 percent reduction in water budgets and water use
    • No watering

The plan features built-in equity where other types of water customers will also be asked to conserve and face price increases in higher-level droughts. The new Drought Emergency Plan additionally comes with the plan to create a drought reserve fund as imposing such water restrictions could reduce water revenue by $1.6 million to $3 million.

For more information regarding The City of Greeley, visit https://greeleygov.com.