May precipitation ends DougCo drought, water conservation still important

Natasha Lovato

Natasha Lovato / NewsBreak Denver

(Douglas County, Colo.) Last week, The Centennial Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors approved moving out of drought conditions.

The Centennial Water service area, which includes Highlands Ranch and Solstice, was in Stage One drought restrictions since July 20, 2022, and according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on May 16, Douglas County is out of drought conditions for the first time since September 2021.

The Denver metro area received record precipitation in May. Highlands Ranch alone received between 4 and 6 inches of rainfall.

Sam Calkins, Centennial Water general manager, stated that the record rainfall allowed Centennial Water to capture enough water to fill the storage reservoirs to near capacity.

“We are thrilled to be able to move out of drought restrictions, but conservation is essential for long-term sustainability. It is important we continue to be mindful of our watering practices in wet and dry times alike,” Calkins said.

Calkins hopes DougCo residents will continue to remain water-wise, as the amount of rain is historically unusual. 

Water Conservation Specialist Paige McFarland explained that an essential part of being water-wise is recognizing when the lawn doesn’t need more water.

During rain events spanning multiple days, landscapes do not need supplemental watering because they are already completely saturated.

“When we get a lot of precipitation, we need to give our irrigation systems a break and turn them off,” McFarland said. 

“Once warm weather returns and the rain has moved on, it’s important to remember our landscapes benefit from watering two, or at most, three days a week.”

DougCo residents can receive low-water perennial garden kits. Residents are also eligible for rebates and other incentives for Colorado-scaping their yards.

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