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CSU breaks down water restriction rules to customers

CSU breaks down water restriction rules to customers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs Utilities gave a breakdown of new water restrictions on Wednesday for its customers. City Council approved the water shortage ordinance and tariff on Tuesday.  The changes will go into effect Monday.

The changes apply for residents that receive a Colorado Springs Utilities water bill each month.

Residents in odd-numbered homes will water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Residents in even-numbered homes will water on Wednesdays and Sundays. Businesses can water on Mondays and Fridays.  If your assigned days don't work for you, you can apply for an alternative plan with CSU.

Customers must water for no more than three hours before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on their assigned days. CSU said the goal behind the watering times is to minimize water evaporation and maximize the water your lawn receives.

Customers who wash their cars, boats or trailers must do it on Saturdays, Sundays or their assigned day.  Also, they must use a bucket or a hose with a positive shutoff nozzle while washing. A positive shutoff nozzle lets users shut the water on and off by hand while using the hose.

Hoses with positive shutoff nozzles can be used to water trees, shrubs and gardens any day of the week.  However, these hoses cannot be used to water grass.

Drip irrigation systems are still allowed any day but only for watering trees, shrubs and gardens under the new restrictions.

Water restrictions will not apply to residents with well water.

As for rain water, that's regulated by the state, not CSU.  It must be used with 72 hours of collection.

CSU said it's taking an education-first approach. Customers not following the rules will receive one notice before CSU issues a $300 fine. In order to be issued a fine, a CSU worker must witness and videotape a customer watering illegally. The maximum fine is $1,000.  CSU could shut off a customer's water but it said it's never had to do that.

CSU also adjusted its tiered rate systems so some customers could see their water bill go up. Customers using less than 2,000 cubic feet of water won't see changes in their bill.  A cubic foot of water is roughly 7.48 gallons.  25 percent of CSU customers fall within CSU's third tier so they use more than 2,000 cubic feet a month.  Under the new water shortage prices, every cubic foot of water over that 2,000 limit will come with a $0.177 charge.

Not all residents in the Pikes Peak Region are facing similar water restrictions. Manitou Water, Security Water, Widefield Water, and Stratmoor Water said they haven't implemented water restrictions for their customers. Cherokee Metro Water will roll out similar water restrictions to Colorado Springs Utilities Water customers starting Monday.

CSU said no one is exempt from these rules.  It said water restrictions aren't easy for the company, it estimates it will lose $18 to $22 million in water revenue under the rules. 

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