Craig’s water director doesn’t anticipate use restrictions as summer nears close
While early signs pointed to likely water restrictions this summer, recent regional and local precipitation have changed the prognosis.
Craig’s director of water and wastewater, Mark Sollenberger, said Friday that he no longer anticipated a need to implement water conservation requirements in the city this summer.
Sollenberger had said in mid-June that water restrictions seemed like a definite possibility. But, he said Friday, heavy rain to the north, in the area of the Little Snake River, have boosted flows to the point that he doubts that will be necessary before demand drops in the fall.
“There was a call on the Yampa River in July,” Sollenberger said. “But they rescinded it because enough heavy rains to the north of us meant they were able to get the flows at the lower end of the Yampa up to where they like them for the endangered fish and other things. This rain (in Craig) the last couple days helped, too.”
Sollenberger said things could still change. He has meetings every Wednesday with regional and state water administrators and it’s always possible they could need to adjust course. Yet for now it seems like Craig residents escaped the harsher immediate consequences of the ongoing drought.
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“Our flows are starting to decrease a little bit,” Sollenberger said, referring to the demand of water customers whom he serves. “Especially when it rains, we decrease. And then we’re coming to September already, and our demand starts to drop in September normally. I don’t see any restrictions coming at the present time.”
Sollenberger said October, when residents blow out their irrigation systems, brings another substantial drop in demand.
“If it was still July right now, it’d be a different story,” he said. “But we’re approaching the lower demand season. We don’t see another peak or increase in demand until about May. The trend I’m seeing, with a little bit of rain at the end of this month helping and then we usually get some monsoonal rains in September, I don’t see anything occurring for water conservation at this point in time.”
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. to include a response from the Bureau of Land Management’s national office.