Happy New Water Year!
By Lindsay Weber, Denver Water demand planner
In 91 days, downtown Denver will be filled with performances, confetti and fireworks to ring in the New Year. But, at Denver Water the ball dropped last night and we popped the cork for 2015.
That’s because a water year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the following year and is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. That means the 2015 water year starts today.
This timeframe makes sense for water resource managers because a water year provides a natural breakpoint between the end of the summer — the season of high water use — and the beginning of fall — when snow begins to accumulate — making it easier to compare precipitation across different years.
Because Sept. 30 also marks the end of the outdoor watering season, this timeframe is a natural breakpoint for water users as well. And, as outdoor watering — which accounts for 50 percent of an average single-family residential customer’s water use — comes to an end, we would like to reflect on the 2014 water year, which started out with a bang.
First, our 2014 new water year wishes paid off. After the historic rainfall in September 2013 (the equivalent of December for a traditional year), Denver Water’s reservoirs were higher than they ever had been heading into the new water year. This was followed by a winter packed with snow in our watersheds and a summer full of rain throughout our service area.
Second, we want to thank our customers who followed our 2014 resolution to not be “that guy.” By following the watering rules, watching the weather and submitting nearly 20,000 residential rebates to upgrade to high-efficiency toilets, rotary nozzles, smart irrigation controllers and more, customers used about 9 billion gallons less water this water year compared to recent water years.
So, here’s to 2015! We’ve eaten our 12 lucky grapes in hope of another great water year. But in this dry climate, that isn’t a luxury we can count on, so we all must continue to make water-saving resolutions. From exploring efficient landscape transformation options to saving money by participating in Denver Water’s rebate program, committing to a new water-year resolution is much easier to achieve than the workout goal many of us will set in three short months.