Low snowpack, dry weather predictions to blame
By Cayla Vidmar
Due to the lack of moisture this winter, the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District is already implementing water restrictions.
“Our board has decided to be proactive with water restrictions and promoting conservation,” says Mt Crested Butte district manager Mike Fabbre. “Looking at issues of our snowpack and weather predictions, we are considered to be in a drought right now.”
The district restrictions mean Mt. Crested Butte residents will be able to water only two days per week, between 6 and 10 a.m. Residents who live on even-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Fridays, and those with odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Washing of equipment, vehicles, driveways, etc., is not permitted, and residents with new landscaping, new trees, or any new planting can apply for a waiver to water more frequently. Violators of the restrictions can expect fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, depending on how many violations they have.
“Watering is typically very generous, so this is kind of the next phase of restricting,” says Fabbre. However, if the monsoon season hits early, or if the area receives more moisture than expected, the board will consider downgrading the restrictions.
Every summer Mt. Crested Butte imposes watering regulations, typically starting at the end of May or beginning of June. The summer of 2013 was the last time there were water restrictions of this magnitude, following a dry summer and winter in 2012. However, according to Fabbre, this year is trending to the 2002 and 2003 drought year. On April 23, 2002, according to the National Drought Association drought monitor chart, 100 percent of the state was in severe drought, and 46 percent was in an extreme drought.
As of April 17, 2018, the same drought monitor chart reports that 53 percent of the state is in severe drought, while 24 percent of the state is in extreme drought. The majority of Gunnison County is currently in severe drought, with the southwest corner of the county in extreme drought.
Crested Butte and Crested Butte South have not implemented watering restrictions at this time.
Mt. Crested Butte residents can get more information on the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District homepage at www.mcbwsd.com.