Water wise: Big Spring stays below CRMWD’s allotment

Having struggled through last summer to meet water allotments set by the Colorado City Municipal Water District, made necessary by the ongoing drought, this season has served as a marked contrast for the city of Big Spring, as the municipality continues to stay well below the district's restrictions.According to Assistant City Manager Todd Darden, the most water the city — including municipal raw water consumer Alon USA — has used this summer is 5.7 million gallons in a day, well below the 6.3 million gallons per day allocated by CRMWD.Darden said he believes there are several reasons the city is staying beneath the usage cap set by CRMWD, despite having struggled — and at times, having failed — during the 2011 summer season.“I think one of the biggest factors in keeping the water use low has been the recent rains and the rains we got earlier in the year,” Darden said. “For the most part, folks have given up on their lawns — there's just no way to keep them going in this heat without large quantities of water — and are concentrating on the real assets we have out here in the desert, our trees. And, thanks to the rains, they haven't had to use as much water to keep them going.“Another thing I think has played a major role in us being able to reach these goals is the overall awareness of the citizens. They have really stepped up and embraced water conservation in Big Spring. I believe a lot of that has to do with all the efforts which have been ongoing to educate folks on the drought and the water shortage and what they can do to help. I think their willingness to take this seriously has had a huge impact.”The city has also received some help on the water conservation front from a rather unexpected source.“Between Feb. 20 and July 19, we didn't have a single main water line break,” Darden said. “When I heard that, I thought for sure there was some kind of mistake, but that's correct. We didn't have a single main break during that five-month period. When you don't have water running down the street, it's a lot easier to meet those restrictions.”Darden said the lack of main breaks is largely because of ... the high level of water conservation?“That's right. One of the biggest contributing factors to main breaks is the amount of pressure on the system, and because we're moving less than 6 million gallons a day, the stress on the system is fairly low,” he said. “Of course, no one wants this drought or to have to conserve water, but the lack of stress on the system is giving us something to smile about for now.”