Ute Water has been a part of the Drought Response Information Project, or DRIP, since the 2002-2003 drought. One of the worst droughts in Colorado's history called for western slope water agencies and affiliates to come together to communicate a cohesive message about the current drought status and what Grand Valley residents can do to conserve water. The City of Grand Junction, Clifton Water District, CSU Extension Tri-River Area, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, and the National Weather Service are all members of DRIP as well.
The Grand Valley has four domestic water providers that serve different areas of the valley: Town of Palisade, Clifton Water District, the City of Grand Junction, and Ute Water Conservancy District. Additionally, most Grand Valley residents benefit from dual water systems, which means that domestic water and irrigation water are provided through different systems. Dual water systems help keep consumer's costs down because irrigation water can be used for outdoor use instead of treated water. With six irrigation providers and four domestic water providers, it can be confusing on who to listen to regarding drought and water conservation, which is why DRIP is a great asset and resource for our community.
As runoff begins and we approach peak season of water usage (June, July, August), DRIP is excited to roll out the 2020 water conservation campaign, "Gnome more, waste less." The campaign features three garden gnomes as they provide helpful, easy, water conservation tips and facts that can help Grand Valley residents reduce their water usage. Each Grand Valley resident uses an average of 70 gallons of water each day.
"The gnomes help provide a positive tone and image to an important message that all generations should be involved and invested in, and that's water conservation," says Andrea Lopez, External Affairs Manager for Ute Water Conservancy District. "Water conservation is similar to losing weight. It takes time, good habits, and a new developed lifestyle that anyone can be successful at. The decisions we make today in our water consumption will impact future generation's water supply."
Traditional advertising, such as billboards and bus wraps will be placed across the Grand Valley this summer. Customers may even see some conservation tips on the tailgates of Ute Water and Clifton Water's trucks as they respond to leaks, perform locates, and work around town. As more folks spend more time on social media, a strong social media campaign will also be utilized. DRIP Tips from experts from DRIP will also be featured on DRIP's website, Facebook and Instagram (@grandvalleydrip).
"Our website, dripinfo.com, is the best place to start learning about water conservation," says Lopez. "We have a page dedicated to resources that any consumer can utilize to improve their landscape or home fixtures that helps practice water conservation at the same time. Our friends at CSU Extension Tri-River Area have provided information that's specific to the semi-arid climate here in the Grand Valley, so the information we provide is tailored to our local climate."
DRIP also hosts annual educational events, such as HOA Workshops, rain barrel workshops, and information at farmer's markets. However, COVID-19 has impacted those annual events and the committee hopes to resume the events next year.
For more information on water conservation and how you can be a part of the movement, visit dripinfo.com and follow drip on Facebook and Instagram (@grandvalleydrip). Remember, the more you "gnome" the less you waste!