Study says Western Slope using more water than Front Range |

Study says Western Slope using more water than Front Range

Colorado Front Range residents are using less water, but some parts of the Western Slope have seen per capita water use explode in the past decade, according to a new state study.

The number of gallons per person used daily in Denver and other South Platte River basin cities decreased 13.6 percent between 2000 and 2008, to 178 gallons from 206 gallons.

Residents of western Colorado on average consume more gallons per person each day.

Residents of Pitkin County, home of Aspen, used 1,851 gallons per person each day, the data show, as Elbert County folks used 111 gallons each.

Water use rose to 256 gallons per person in the Colorado River basin, 332 in the Rio Grande, and 236 in the Dolores/San Juan, according to Colorado Water Conservation Board data.

Water analysts attributed the decreasing water use in Front Range cities to conservation programs that create financial incentives.

Denver Water, for example, pays customers up to $150 to replace a toilet, shower or washing machine with a newer, more efficient model.

“Front Range utilities have done a great job at reducing per capita water use. Everyone’s individual water use has dramatically decreased,” said Drew Beckwith, water policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates, a Boulder-based environmental policy and law group.

Denver and suburban water suppliers plan to divert more water from mountain rivers on the west side of the Continental Divide, pumping it through tunnels to new and expanded Front Range reservoirs to sustain residential and industrial development.

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