The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Pitkin County is now experiencing severe-to-extreme drought and, on Monday, city council agreed to implement Stage Two water restrictions. It's the first time the city has taken this step, which is meant to protect area rivers and preserve the city’s water supply.
“Castle and Maroon Creeks, which are our two main water sources, are really starting to run low, and we want to be able to serve the community with the water they need without sacrificing the health of the rivers and their ecosystems,” said Ryland French, resource efficiency manager with Aspen’s Climate Action department.
Residents can now water lawns no more than three days a week, for no longer than 30 minutes. There are also time restrictions: Watering cannot happen between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when temperatures are highest.
French said these restrictions are in-line with what lawns actually need.
“Even at the heat of summer, lawns really only need three to four days, if you’re doing it right,” he said.
According to French, right now it’s common for Aspen residents to water six days a week.
There is also a prohibition on washing outdoor spaces, like sidewalks and driveways.
If the restrictions are broken, violators may face a $500 fine and, after multiple offenses, could have water service disconnected.
The City of Aspen is also working to encourage water conservation in the long-term with a pilot program that requires more efficient landscaping.