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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Aspen Enacts Mandatory Water Restrictions

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio


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.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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