Colorado has been in a pretty substantial drought over the last few years. The drought has been forecast to persist well into 2013. A lack of snow and rain has persisted and due to the water supply dropping almost 30%, Colorado Springs Utilities will be implementing water restrictions beginning April 1st, 2013. Colorado Springs is the largest water supplier to the city and other water companies such as Cherokee Metropolitan District receive a substantial amount of their water from CSU. In the previous six years CSU has not had any water restrictions while other companies that service the area have. This will definitely cause exterior landscaping, namely grassed areas, to suffer dramatically. CSU has proposed to only allow exterior watering two days per week which is usually insufficient to maintain a healthy and green lawn.
It has been our experience that two-day-a-week restrictions cause lawns to suffer and often times either die or at the very least struggle to maintain their health. The direction lawns face also play a part in their health. South-facing lawns see sun exposure almost all-day and therefore water evaporates much more quickly resulting in scorching whereas north-facing lawns are shaded much of the day and can retain water much easier keeping them healthy longer with less water. A common assumption would be to simply water longer on the days where watering is allowed and that is partly true. The biggest problem with that is the lawn's ability to absorb the water. While increasing the times sprinklers run can be somewhat effective, the lawn will reach a point where it is unable to absorb the excess water (even as dry as it is) and therefore the water will simply begin to run-off wasting more water and doing nothing additional for the lawn. Usually with restrictions not only are the days watering is allowed spread out but the times allowed are dictated. Any time before 9 A.M or after 9 P.M has been the standard and specifically determined so the water will absorb versus evaporate. The wind is also less of of a factor during those times.
Many owners may think asking the tenant to fudge a little on the set restrictions would be the next possible solution. This is problematic as CSU will most likely have inspectors driving around (as other local companies already do this now) to ensure that cheating is minimized. If caught, cheaters could potentially be fined by a water provider. Additionally, supply and demand principles are in effect meaning more expensive bills for usage over the normal allotted water supply for a specific home to the tune of 1.5 to 2 times more than normal rates. This is also an unfair burden to put on the tenant, especially given the fact mother nature is beyond anyone's control.
Property Managers will do their very best to ensure that watering is being done on the days and times allowed by local water providers but cannot guarantee that your lawn will look like it has in the past. This is unfortunate but beyond control and unless we receive significant rain in the spring and summer, be prepared for lawn repairs down the road when sufficient watering is allowed again. We understand the importance of curb appeal as it relates to home values and appearance and will strive to maintain it to the best of our ability given our current situation.
Check out the links below for more information on the impending water restrictions...
Colorado Springs Utilities Water Outlook
KOAA Channel 5 News for Water Restrictions