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The Drought Really Is THAT Bad

Grassy area with stone wall and gardening gloves, tools on top.

You’ve probably seen the headlines about the how the drought is affecting the water levels in the Colorado River. With the reduced water flowing out of the Colorado River, it has lowered the water being held in Lake Powell to approaching the “dead pool” level. Once the water goes below this level, the hydropower plant cannot generate power. Millions of people will need to find an alternative power source for their homes.

The lowering of the Colorado River is also affecting water levels at associated reservoirs. Boat ramps will not open this summer at Blue Mesa Reservoir. Lake Mead is so low you can see the drinking water intake for the City of Las Vegas. The current drought that’s exacerbated by climate change is troubling.

Yet, we can all help by using water efficiently because every drop really does matter. One way to ensure you’re doing everything you can is to eliminate or reduce the amount of turf you’re irrigating. Every year Roxborough Water and Sanitation District offers coupons for “Garden in a Box” that is an easy-to-follow approach to replacing turf with beautiful, low-water use native vegetation. Maybe it’s also time to consider artificial turf.

The artificial turf available today is a far cry from AstroTurf of the past. The picture above is of the turf I’m considering for my own backyard. Newer turfs are designed to be heat resistant and stand up to the wear and tear of kids and dogs. While the installation can be expensive, the lifetime savings in water and yard maintenance can also be significant. I was really amazed at how beautiful and natural looking the turf alternatives have become.

It’s also becoming more common for other local governments around the front range to restrict the use of irrigated turf. The City of Aurora is considering an ordinance that would prohibit turf in front yards and limit turf in back yards to no more than 500 square feet. Replacing irrigated turf with a combination of low water use plants and artificial turf is a great alternative.

The most recent update of the South Platte Basin Implementation Plan found that, together, we can meet our water supply needs if we all cooperate and efficiently use this precious resource.

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