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Aspen City Council Enacts Stage 1 Water ShortageAspen City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Monday, May 14 to enact a Stage 1 Water Shortage due to low snowpack and drought conditions in the Aspen area. The goal of enacting a Stage 1 Water Shortage is to decrease communitywide water use. This means the City of Aspen government will take mandatory conservation measures while Aspen water customers are asked to take voluntary conservation measures. Stage 1 also includes a temporary rate increase for City of Aspen water customers with high water use. “Aspen is lucky to have an environmentally aware community that we can count on to reduce water use during this dry year,” said Margaret Medellin, Utilities Portfolio Manager for City of Aspen. “The City will do its part by efficiently irrigating public spaces and being vigilant to avoid water waste. Because we have minimal water storage there are no reservoirs to call on in lean times, it is crucial that we respond quickly to drought conditions.”The City’s voluntary community efforts associated with Stage 1 are intended to conserve water and prepare the community for the potential of mandatory water restrictions if drought conditions worsen. The City already has a robust water conservation program that citizens can utilize for education and results oriented actions including: irrigation efficiency assessments, commercial kitchen dish sprayer replacement, and water efficiency fixtures included in energy home assessments.A specific focus during drought condition is irrigation as it represents the most intensive use of water for all Aspen customers. Ryland French, Resource Efficiency Administrator says, “We invite the community to take part in our irrigation efficiency programs. In Stage 1, we want to help homeowners and landscapers understand that you can water the right amount so your yard is beautiful without being wasteful.” In an effort to help curtail water use in Aspen’s restaurants, the City is offering a high-efficiency dish sprayer installation program to commercial kitchens from May 29-June 1. This program is offered free to the first 30 participants. Kitchens may reserve their free high-efficiency dish sprayer installation by emailing EH@CityOfAspen.comMore on the Stage 1 Water Storage can be found in the Water Shortage Ordinance Section 25.28.010.