Farmington City Council asks residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 10%

Water shortage advisory will go into effect June 1

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — With drought conditions continuing throughout San Juan County, the Farmington City Council voted May 25 to enact a measure urging city residents to reduce their water use by 10%.

The stage one water shortage advisory will go into effect June 1. It asks residents to voluntarily reduce their water use to ease the demand on the city's water system.

City officials say the water level at Lake Farmington, where the city's water is stored, remains at nearly 100%. But a letter from community works director David Sypher to City Council members says stream flows are at only 37% of average and a lack of runoff from the poor snowpack likely will prevent the city's water supply from being replenished.

According to a summary produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the snowpack for the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river basins was only 40% of normal and 27% of average on May 26.

Nearly half of San Juan County, 47.8%, is characterized as being in exceptional drought, the most extreme category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The rest of the county is in extreme drought, the second-worst category, or severe drought, the third-worst category.

Farmington officials said there are several things residents can do to reduce their water consumption. Those steps include:

• Limiting lawn watering and landscaping yards with drought-resistant plants

• Avoiding watering lawns or using automated sprinkler systems between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• Avoiding using manual watering or sprinkler systems between the hours of noon and 4 p.m.

• Trying to water only in the early morning to avoid excess evaporation and discourage fungus growth

• Shutting off sprinkler systems when it is raining

• Installing new landscaping

• Avoiding the washing of hard surfaces such as sidewalks, parking lots or driveways

• Repairing indoor and outdoor leaks as soon as they are discovered

• Providing restaurant customers with water only upon request

• Avoiding washing your car at home

• Replacing old plumbing fixtures with low-flow fixtures

• Taking shorter showers, not letting the water run continuously while shaving or brushing your teeth and flushing only when necessary

• Using washing machines and dish washers only with a full load

• Insulating hot water heaters, setting the temperature appropriately and partially draining them once a year.

More information is available by visiting fmtn.org/drought.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.