Water Conservation

The City of Grand Junction works regularly to collect data on drought conditions, track city water supplies, and plan for the future to ensure adequate water supplies are maintained in our region. 

Drought Status and Climate Predictions 

As of June 2021, Mesa County is in exceptional drought which is expected to persist through August. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently forecasting a high likelihood of probability that temperatures will be above normal, and precipitation will be below normal through the summer months of 2021. The potential impacts of a persistent exceptional drought include crop/pasture losses, high fire risk, water supply emergencies, and shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells. 

City Water Supplies

A goal of the Utilities Department is to have at least 140% of annual demand stored in city reservoirs on the Grand Mesa by the end of spring runoff. The City has primary water rights on Kannah Creek and diverts water from that stream to fill its reservoirs. When drought conditions persist, the City is unable to divert its full water right into its reservoirs. Staff monitors water storage levels closely to assess the amount of water in reserve and prepare for the potentiality of extended drought conditions in future years. 

Water Conservation Efforts

Drought Response Plan

Working in coordination with water providers (Ute Water Conservancy District, Clifton Water District), the City of Grand Junction has developed a Drought Response Plan for the Grand Valley. This plan includes specific actions to be taken if at least one of the three provider’s supply is at or near minimum storage level targets during exceptional drought conditions. 

  • Moving from Voluntary Water Restrictions to Mandatory Water Restrictions:
    • Allow water use for only the most essential uses during the drought.
    • Implement emergency water rates. 
  • Methods for increasing water supply include:
    • Calling back leased water rights from ranches.
    • Augmenting raw water sources through river pump stations if river water is available.
    • Collective use of all available water rights.
    • Sharing water supplies between domestic water providers.

Long-term Water Supply 

The City has worked to complete modeling studies and to determine the extent of current water supplies. The City has also researched options for infrastructure projects that will address reliability, resiliency to drought, and long-term supply to meet future growth.  

Partnerships

The City of Grand Junction collaborates with its partners on water conservation programs. Partnerships include: 

  • Western Slope water providers 
  • Colorado Water Congress   
  • Colorado Basin Roundtable
  • Historic User Pool (HUP)
  • Gunnison Basin Roundtable