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Stormwater Awareness: Colorado’s high desert is thirsty

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley is located in geographical location with more than 300 days of sunshine each year and limited days of precipitation. Many people appreciate all the sunshine, but it comes at a cost. There is a limited supply of water and a lot of thirsty people, lawns, farms, manufacturing and other water consumers.

The 2012 calendar year recorded low precipitation totals from both rain and snow. Buckley received 11.4 inches of precipitation. The average precipitation is 15.8 inches. Winter snow storms and spring rain storms are welcome events to help Buckley.

Faucet water is sourced from multiple areas in Colorado. Largely, the water is sourced from mountain snow melt. The 2011-2012 winter was below average snowpack for the region, leaving reservoirs lower during the summer but not at critical levels because there were large snows pack depths in the 2010-2011 winter. Future watering restrictions could be dependent on the snow pack from the 2012-2013 winter in the high county.

What can you do to prepare for times of drought? In one word: conserve.

Change your behavior
Immediately implement ideas like turning off the water while brushing teeth or limit the length of showers. Even washing cars on the lawn will water the lawn while naturally filtering the wash water.

Complete repairs
Simple repairs will continue to payoff in reduced water usage and lower utility bills. Quickly repair toilets that are running constantly, faucets that drip and any leaking irrigation heads.

Design improvements
Outside the home, switch lawn to drought-tolerate varieties, reduce the amount of irrigated grass, plant xeriscape material, and simply reduce watering outside the home. Inside the home, purchase water-efficient models of toilets, faucets and showerheads.

The benefits of water conservation are numerous. In addition to the immediate savings on your water bill, the maintenance and improvements you complete will continue to reduce water usage every month.

Both interior and exterior water reduction practices can also be used at work. Buckley is taking large efforts to reduce water consumption and it is everyone's job to pitch in. People who see large ponding water on a dry day, water leaks inside a building, any misuse of water or something that just does not look right can call the Buckley Environmental Emergency phone number at 720-308-7092. Together we can save water.
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