GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Water conservancies across the state are keeping a close eye on our reservoirs, the majority of which are below average. While recent storms are making an impact on our water supplies, officials advise residents to begin conserving water now.
Keeping water pumping through the valley's vein's is a concern for many.
Hannah Holm coordinator of Colorado Mesa University's Water Center, said, "Our snowpack is really what nourishes a good chunk of the west, so that's a really privileged position to be in."
John Harold, an Olathe farmer, said, "There's more demand than there is water, so our concern is, can we do a better job with our water in our valley?"
"Farming and the environment and recreation and tourism are all part of what make up the quality of life in Colorado," said Holm.
Reservoirs throughout the state are not on pace to keep up with demand.
Steve Fletcher, manager of the Uncompaghre Valley Water Users, said, "We'll need 130 percent of average between now and April in order to just bring us back to an average year."
Holm said, "We're coming off a very dry year last year, so the reservoir levels are down and the snowpack is not piling up."
Different groups are collaborating, planning for the near and distant future
"Soil health has a lot to do with water quality and consumption. So we've been working on it, we're probably going to speed up that process in the coming months," said Harold.
"It's a planning process that has the potential to impact all of us in terms of our environment and ability to use our water, so it makes sense for people to be aware of that," Holm said.
"It's not a farmer problem, it's a community problem," said Harold.
Looking forward to the next few months, officials want all residents to prepare for drought.
Fletcher said, "It looks like it's going to be inevitable this summer that we'll probably be dealing with drought, drought conditions. Start conserving now, because everything we can keep in the reservoirs, we'll have later this year.
Mother Nature will have the ultimate say over how extreme a drought we could face this summer, but planning now will give us some leverage.
The CMU water center has teamed up with local water providers to educate the public on water issues.
Two public meetings will be held this week discussing issues pertaining to the Surface Creek Valley.
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In February, several water meetings will be held in Grand Junction. For more information, call Hannah Holm at (970) 248-1968.