Centennial Water in Highlands Ranch rescinds drought watch

Manager says supply is holding steady

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The Centennial Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors has rescinded the drought watch designation that was put in place in April.

The board rescinded the designation during its regular meeting on Aug. 30. Centennial Water provides water and wastewater services to Highlands Ranch residents.

“As we begin September, we are about three-fourths of the way through the irrigation season and our water supply is holding steady and customers have done a great job this summer cutting back on their water use,” said John Kaufman, general manager for Centennial Water. “At the board meeting, staff recommended we cancel the drought watch and the board unanimously approved the recommendation.”

According to the news release, temperatures from late April through mid-August averaged only slightly above average. Precipitation for the same period was slightly above average as well.

Water Rights Administrator Swithin Dick said that during the summer irrigation season, Centennial Water customers responded to the periodic rainfall and adjusted their watering appropriately. As a result, water demand in April, May and July were below past averages and water reserves in storage reservoirs appear to be adequate to meet projected demands for the rest of the irrigation season, Swithin said.

As of Aug. 30, Centennial Water’s reservoir storage was 7,127 acre-feet, or 41% of 17,200 acre-feet total capacity. Centennial Water’s median storage level for September over the past 10 years has been 7,775 AF, or 45% of capacity.

Water districts measure water levels through acre-feet, which is about 326,000 gallons, equaling the size of a football field one foot deep. 

At the start of the current summer, water officials were concerned about water levels and usage. The dry, hot summer in 2020 did not help water supplies.

To prepare for the possibility of a repeat of the 2020 summer, in May the Centennial Water Board went beyond just the drought watch designation, adopting a fee structure dependent on drought conditions.

If drought conditions got worse, the board approved two new stages, Drought Stage 1, and Drought Stage 2, which would have meant higher fees for residents using more water.

The board never voted to use the established stages, remaining under a drought watch designation all summer.

For more information about water conservation and drought condition updates, visit centennialwater.org.

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