The City of Montrose enjoys the benefit of water rights and storage that are sufficient to continue serving its customers through periods of drought. While water use restrictions are not being contemplated during this exceptionally dry and warm period, it is wise for residents to take simple and practical steps to reduce water consumption, both in times of abundance and scarcity.
Water Conservation Plan
The State of Colorado, under HB 04-1365, mandates that all covered entities, defined as water retailers that distribute 2,000 acre-feet or more annually, have water conservation plans approved by Colorado Water Conservation Board.
In 2016, the city adopted a Water Conservation Plan, following a public review and comment process. The plan provides an overview and history of the city's water supply and systems, historical information, conservation measures, and drought contingency plans.
By simply being more water conscious, we can find a variety of daily activities, both inside and outside the home, where water use can be minimized. Water is a shared resource and all of us have the responsibility to use it wisely.
Reducing water consumption outside your home
Overall water use in the city is four times higher in June, July, and August than in November, December, and January. This simple statistic highlights the opportunity to dramatically reduce water consumption by making water-wise landscaping choices.
Common misconceptions - Xeric or water-wise landscaping does not mean "cactus gardens". For example, planting a nice shade tree can do as much to reduce water use as the conversion of our landscapes to drought-tolerant plants. Shade from trees not only reduces the water needs of turf and adjacent shrubs but also reduces the costs associated with cooling our homes.
Tap local experts - Local resources are available to help educate residents about water conservation in residential landscapes. The Montrose Botanic Gardens is a great place to visit to get a first-hand look at the plants that you can plant in your xeric landscape. The garden also has interpretive signs and demonstration grass plots that showcase local drought-tolerant grass species.
The Montrose CSU Extension Office is another local resource that can help answer any landscape-related questions. The Mesa County Extension Office has a fabulous demonstration garden with a wide variety of plants adapted to arid climates.
Some other tips for reducing water consumption outside your home include:
- Selecting shrub, tree, and plant varieties that are compatible with our dry climate.
- Opting for smaller lawn areas, combined with grass varieties that demand less water.
- Avoid watering lawns during windy conditions or during the heat of the day and adjust the frequency and duration of watering based on grass variety, soil conditions, temperature, and precipitation. Less frequent and deeper watering promotes deeper root growth and increases resistance to drought and disease.
- Using mulch around plants in flower beds and gardens to help reduce evaporation and weeds.
Gardening and Landscaping Resources
Taking water-saving measures inside your home
Actions we take to reduce water consumption inside our homes make a difference year-round. For example, approximately 75 percent of the city’s water taps were placed in service prior to the establishment of national water efficiency standards. Residents can realize large water savings by replacing older, water-hungry toilets, showerheads, faucets, and appliances with high-efficiency models.
Toilets manufactured since 1994 are designed to use 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) whereas some older models use 3.5 or more per flush. The city has a rebate program for replacing older toilets with new high-efficiency models. To be eligible, the model must be a qualified WaterSense labeled toilet that uses either 1.0 gpf ($25 rebate) or 0.8 gpf ($50 rebate). Residents can claim a rebate credit on their water bill by submitting an application to the city.
Here are some simple actions that can accumulate to big water savings:
- Promptly repairing leaking fixtures can save as much as 200 gallons per day for toilets and five for faucets.
- Installing a low-flow showerhead can cut water usage by up to 20K gallons per year and save up to 10 percent on water heating costs.
- Reduce the amount of time you use showering.
- Install aerators on sinks.
- Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
- Fill your sink with a little hot water to use while shaving rather than running hot water continuously.
- Don't use toilets as trash cans.
In-home Water-Saving Resources
History and Future of Water Resources in Montrose
Learn about the history of water resources in Montrose, how they connect with the "big picture" water demands and supply in the Colorado River Basin, and measures being taken to preserve them for future generations.