Drought Contingency Plan

Section I: Declaration of Policy, Purpose, and Intent

In order to conserve the available water supply and protect the integrity of water supply facilities, with particular regard for domestic water use, sanitation, and fire protection, and to protect and preserve public health, welfare, and safety and minimize the adverse impacts of water supply shortage or other water supply emergency conditions, the Left Hand Water District (the “District”) hereby adopts the following regulations and restrictions on the delivery and consumption of water. Water uses regulated or prohibited under this Drought Contingency Plan (the Plan) are considered to be non-essential and continuation of such uses during times of water shortage or other emergency water supply condition are deemed to constitute a waste of water which subjects the offender(s) to penalties as defined in this Plan. The goal of this Plan is to ensure an adequate supply of water for the tapholders of the District. The Plan includes measures that will both reduce water demand by the tapholders and increase the raw water supply available to the Spurgeon and Dodd Water Treatment Plants.


Section II: Public Education

The Left Hand Water District will periodically provide the public with information about the Plan, including information about the conditions under which each stage of the Plan is to be initiated or terminated and the drought response measures to be implemented in each stage. This information will be provided by means of utility bill inserts and posting the Plan on the District’s website. The District will provide a copy of the Plan to tapholders upon request.


Section III: Notification and Coordination with Regional Water Providers

A copy of this Drought Contingency Plan will be provided to other regional water providers, including providers of raw water supplies to the District. Updates of the Plan and action taken under the Plan will be provided whenever the District initiates and/or terminates various stages of the Plan.


Section IV: Authorization

The District Manager or the Manager’s designee is hereby authorized and directed to implement the applicable provisions of this Plan upon determination that such implementation is necessary to conserve water during times of shortage while still protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. The District Manager or the Manager’s designee shall have the authority to initiate or terminate water shortage or other water supply emergency response measures as described in this Plan. The District Manager or the Manager’s designee shall immediately inform the Board of Directors of any changes in stages of the Plan.


Section V: Application

The provisions of this Plan shall apply to all persons, tapholders, and property utilizing water provided by the District. The terms “person” and “tapholder” as used in the Plan include individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, municipalities, special districts, and all other legal entities. Water service provided via master meter for contractual purposes may be subject to this Plan following coordination with the contract holder.


Section VI: Definitions

For the purposes of this Plan, the following definitions shall apply:
Aesthetic water use:
water use for ornamental or decorative purposes such as fountains, reflecting pools, and water gardens.

Beneficial use: water uses that are essential or required for the protection of public, health, safety, and welfare, including domestic water uses.

Commercial and institutional water use: water use which is integral to the operations of commercial and non-profit establishments and governmental entities such as retail establishments, hotels and motels, restaurants, and office buildings.

Conservation: those practices, techniques, and technologies that reduce the consumption of water, reduce the loss or waste of water, improve the efficiency in the use of water or increase the recycling and reuse of water so that a supply is conserved and made available for future or alternative uses.

Customer: any person, company, or organization using water supplied by Left Hand Water District.

Domestic water use: water use for personal needs or for household or sanitary purposes such as drinking, bathing, heating, cooking, sanitation, or for cleaning a residence, business, industry, or institution.

Even number address: street addresses, box numbers, or rural postal route numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 and locations without addresses.

Landscape irrigation use: water used for the irrigation and maintenance of landscaped areas, whether publicly or privately owned, including residential and commercial lawns, gardens, golf courses, parks, and rights-of-way and medians.

Master Meters: tapholders who purchase water wholesale from the District and re-sell the water to others.

Non-essential water use: water uses that are not essential nor required for the protection of public, health, safety, and welfare, including:

  • irrigation of landscape areas, including parks, athletic fields, and golf courses, except otherwise provided under this Plan;
  • use of water to wash any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle;
  • use of water to wash down any sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas;
  • use of water to wash down buildings or structures for purposes other than immediate fire protection;
  • flushing gutters or permitting water to run or accumulate in any gutter or street;
  • use of water to fill, refill, or add to any indoor or outdoor swimming pools or jacuzzi-type pools;
  • use of water in a fountain or pond for aesthetic or scenic purposes except where necessary to support aquatic life;
  • failure to repair a controllable leak(s) within a reasonable period after having been given notice directing the repair of such leak(s); and
  • use of water from hydrants for construction purposes or any other purposes other than fire fighting.

Odd numbered address: street addresses, box numbers, or rural postal route numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9.


Section VII:  Criteria for Initiation and
Termination of Drought Response Stages

The General Manager or the Manager’s designee shall monitor water supply and demand conditions on a monthly basis or as operational conditions require. The District Manager shall determine when conditions warrant initiation or termination of each stage of the Plan, that is, when the specified “triggers” are reached.

The triggering criteria described below are based on a statistical analysis of the vulnerability of the water source under water shortage conditions, historical water demand patterns, and the District’s ability to meet the projected water demands. The most appropriate time for evaluating drought response triggers and planning drought responses is late April to early May. During this time frame, knowledge of the final spring snow pack measurements provides a relatively high degree of confidence regarding the amount of runoff, and the amount of water that Left Hand will get for the year from the Colorado-Big Thompson system is known. Additionally, nearly all of the irrigation season still lies ahead.

 

Drought Response Plan Summary
Drought Stage Conservation Goal
(annual reduction target)
Focus of
Response Options
Main Focus
Private Citizens
& Businesses
Main Focus
District
Stage I
Mild
10% Education/Voluntary restrictions Voluntary conservation measures Provide water wise information and education.
Increase leak repair and detection.
Limit operational flushing of system.
Stage II
Moderate
20% Mandatory restrictions – moderate limitations on non-essential use.
Possible drought surcharge.
Keep the following vegatation alive:
trees, shrubs, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, lawns.
Keep adequate commercial water available.
Eliminate annual flushing program.
Investigate and repair leaks.
Constantly monitor water supply and use and operate water plants accordingly.
Stage III
Severe
30% Mandatory restrictions
Severe limitations on non-essential use.
Probable drought surcharge.
Keep the following vegatation alive:
trees, shrubs, perennials.
Adequate commercial water with restrictions.
May require businesses to supply additional water.
No hydrant use except for fire safety.
Possible water lease or puchase.
Stage IV
Extreme
50% Ban outdoor water on turf.
Essential indoor water use only. Very likely drought surcharge.
Sustain some mature trees, but recognize there may be a major die-off of lawns,trees and shrubs. Maintain adequate supply for indoor and emergency use for 12 month period.

Water Shortage Conditions and Responses
There are four (4) stages of water shortage conditions outlined in this Plan. The criteria to be used to determine the severity of the water shortage are presented, followed by the responses that the District will require from itself and its tapholders at each stage. In addition to system-wide water shortages due to drought, it is possible that only a portion of the District may be affected by a water shortage if that shortage were due to a shortage in the untreated water supply for a localized area, or by a catastrophic operational condition in a localized area.


Stage 1 MILD Water Shortage Conditions

At this stage, conditions will moderately impact the District’s supply vs. demand.

Requirements for initiation
Tapholders shall be requested to voluntarily conserve water and adhere to prescribed restrictions on certain water uses when one or more of the following events occur:

  • On April 1st of the year, the annual projected water supply available to the District through March 31st of the following year is less than 120% of the average annual demand per tap customer.
  • On November 1st of the year, the amount of C-BT water exchanged and/or held in storage for delivery to the District during the non-irrigation season is less than projected demands and shrinkage allowance.
  • When total daily water demand at all district facilities equals or exceeds 80% of capacity for 14 consecutive days
  • At any time when projected demand is greater than or equal to 100% of supply.

Response Requirements
Goal:
Achieve a voluntary 10 percent reduction in total water use or daily water demand as required.

Supply Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Limit operational flushing of fire hydrants and dead end water lines except to maintain system water quality
  • Repair all leaks promptly and investigate all reports of leaks promptly.
  • Provide water wise information and education.
  • The provision of excess water for rental by the Lefthand Ditch Company will be reduced or eliminated.
  • Hydrant meter water sales will be reviewed for use and total demand on system. Normal use of water through hydrant meters for potable water deliveries or construction within the District will be allowed, but use of fire hydrants or hydrant meters for irrigation purposes will not be allowed.

Demand Management Measures:
The District shall notify all customers by bill insert or newsletter of the water shortage conditions and ask for voluntary water use restrictions.

Voluntary Water Use Restrictions:

  • Tapholders are requested to voluntarily limit the irrigation of landscaped areas to two days per week.
  • Tapholder are requested to practice water conservation and to minimize or discontinue water use for non-essential purposes.

Stage 2 MODERATE Water Shortage Conditions

Drought conditions at this stage will seriously impact the District’s supply vs. demand. Requirements for initiation
Mandatory watering restrictions and other measures with a goal of reducing demand by 20% will be instituted when one or more of the following event occur:

  • On April 1st of the year, the annual projected water supply available to the District through March 31st of the following year is 90% to 100% of the average annual demand per tap customer.
  • On November 1st of the year, the amount of C-BT water exchanged and/or held or carried over in storage for delivery to the District during the non-irrigation season is less than 800 acre feet.
  • When total daily water demand at all District facilities equals or exceeds 80% of capacity for 14 consecutive days, and the system is unable to maintain adequate levels of storage in the system due to water demand.
  • At any time when projected demand is greater than or equal to 110% of supply.

Response Requirements
Goal: Achieve a mandatory 20 percent reduction in total water use or daily water demand as required.

Supply Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Constantly monitor water supplies and use. Operate water plants on a pro-active basis to conserve the water supplies that are the most impacted by shortage conditions
  • Lease of excess C-BT raw water to Lefthand Ditch Co. will be eliminated.

Demand Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Limit operational flushing of fire hydrants and dead end water lines except to maintain system water quality
  • Repair all leaks promptly and investigate all reports of leaks promptly.
  • Hydrant meter usage limited to construction use within the LHWD boundaries and no irrigation or landscape use.
  • Mandatory restrictions on landscape watering as follows: 2 days a week depending upon address number according to schedule formulated by the District with no watering between 10:00am-6:00pm.
  • No exceptions for newly seeded or sodded lawns, and installation of new lawns should be delayed until restrictions are lifted.
  • Very limited direct or low-water drip irrigation system watering allowed to flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs, on days and times other than those noted above.
  • Violation fines to be imposed according to schedule formulated by District.

Other Non-Essential Use:

  • Restrict the filling of private swimming pools.
  • Restrict the use of water for street cleaning, playground, sidewalks, driveways using treated water, except in instances of spills of hazardous substances or for health or safety reasons or required maintenance.
  • Coordinate with local fire districts to reduce fire staff training/testing with water.

New taps will be required to dedicate the water rights required, cash-in-lieu of water right dedication will be suspended at the discretion of the Board of Directors.


Stage 3 SEVERE Water Shortage Conditions

Conditions at this drought level will critically impact the District’s supply vs. demand.

  • Requirements for initiationMandatory watering restrictions and other measures with a goal of reducing demand by 20% will be instituted when one or more of the following events occur:
  • On April 1st of the year, the annual projected water supply available to the District through March 31st of the following year is 80% to 90% of the average annual demand per tap customer.
  • On November 1st of the year, the amount of C-BT water exchanged and/or held or carried over in storage for delivery to the District during non-irrigation season is less than 700 acre feet.
  • When total daily water demand at all District facilities equals or exceeds 80% of capacity for 14 consecutive days, and the system is unable to maintain adequate levels of storage in the system due to water demand.
  • At any time when projected demand is greater than or equal to 120% of supply.

Response Requirements
Goal: Achieve a mandatory 30 percent reduction in total water use or daily water demand as required.

Supply Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Limit operational flushing of fire hydrants and dead end water lines except to maintain system water quality
  • Repair all leaks promptly and investigate all reports of leaks promptly.
  • Constantly monitor water supplies and use. Operate water plants on a pro-active basis to conserve the water supplies that are the most impacted by shortage conditions
  • Lease of excess C-BT raw water to Lefthand Ditch Co. will be eliminated.
  • Hydrant meter water sales will not normally be allowed. Hydrant use for irrigation will not be allowed.
  • District will seek other supplies through interruptible supply contracts and raw water leases of C-BT and Left Hand Ditch shares.
  • Commercial and Industrial Customers may be required to provide additional raw water sources to the District for their use, up to their projected demand.

Demand Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Water rates will be adjusted to provide a clear financial incentive to limit outside water use.
  • May impose a moratorium on new water taps.
  • No lawn irrigation; no outdoor water use on sidewalks, vehicles, or for any purpose other than fire control; no hand watering of lawns or annual flower or vegetable gardens.
  • Limited drip system or direct hand watering of trees, shrubs and perennial plants will be allowed. at designated times.
  • Commercial and Industrial Customers will be encouraged to reduce water use by 20%, using best management practices for their specific businesses.

Other Non-Essential Use:

  • Restrict the filling of private swimming pools.
  • Restrict the use of water for street cleaning, playground, sidewalks, driveways using treated water, except in instances of spills of hazardous substances or for health or safety reasons or required maintenance.
  • Coordinate with local fire districts to reduce fire staff training/testing with water.

New taps will be required to dedicate the water rights required, cash-in-lieu of water right dedication will be suspended at the discretion of the Board of Directors.


Stage 4 Extreme Shortage Conditions

A drought at this stage would focus on using mandatory restrictions to eliminate outdoor water use and only allow essential (health and safety) indoor water use to reach a reduction target of 50% during the irrigation season. A drought surcharge would very likely be implemented. Below is a list of possible responses/actions that may be used in addition to those measures already employed for earlier stages of the drought to reduce water use.

Response Requirements
Goal:
Achieve a mandatory 50 percent reduction in total water use or daily water demand as required.

Supply and Demand Management Measures:
The District shall:

  • Prohibit use of any outdoor watering system (manual or automatic).
  • Prohibit the filling of swimming pools.
  • Require that all ornamental fountains and water features be turned off.
  • Impose a moratorium on new tap connections.
  • Restrict non-essential uses of water in industrial, commercial and institutional operations, to reduce annual overall water use by 40%.
  • Increase fines for use outside restrictions, and increase staff or contract outside labor sources to monitor and enforce restrictions.
  • Intensify public information to reinforce the need for more serious measures.
  • Increase drought surcharges.
  • Lease and /or purchase supplementary supplies through contracts with agricultural users, local governments, and individuals within and outside the District.

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