A new ordinance from the Mancos Board of Trustees would implement clear guidelines for water restrictions, given Southwest Colorado’s dry conditions.
Trustees have expressed support of the rules but have not officially incorporated them into the town’s municipal code. Residents are asked not to water their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 30 each year, starting next year.
If water levels in the West Mancos River fall low, and the town has to turn to Jackson Lake for water supply, mandatory water restrictions will become active. Watering would only be allowed between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Even-numbered addresses would water on even days, and properties with odd-numbered addresses would water on odd days.
The restrictions would remain in effect until the call on the West Mancos River is lifted and the town could use it as a water source again.
If the ordinance passes, these rules will become part of the municipal code. Currently, Mancos is encouraging residents to act as though water use on the West Mancos River was called, even though it hasn’t been. The town is not currently writing citations for violations.
The city of Cortez has similar rules in place.
“We should be conscious of water,” said Trustee Janice Bryan at the board meeting Wednesday evening.
If a severe drought continued, and the river could not be used after six weeks, the public works director of Mancos would have the authority to institute stricter water restrictions, such as no outdoor watering, with approval from the board.
The town of Mancos has the third priority on the river, with only two ranchers ahead of them on the priority list, so it rarely loses access.
Water for gardens or new lawns is exempted.
Before, it was up to town of Mancos staff to make calls on water restrictions. These rules would provide clear direction to town staff and residents, said town Administrator Heather Alvarez.