Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Water sales falter for Colorado Springs Utilities amid wet spring

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 3:41 PM

click to enlarge Heavy rains have filled gutters across the city this spring, much like this street as shown two years ago. It's since been the site of a storm drainage project to improve drainage. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Heavy rains have filled gutters across the city this spring, much like this street as shown two years ago. It's since been the site of a storm drainage project to improve drainage.
A damp spring that's pushed Colorado Springs above its normal rainfall total translates to about $3.4 million less in water sales for Colorado Springs Utilities through May this year compared to the same five months last year.

The dip in sales likely is related to customers curtailing irrigation of lawns, golf courses and other vegetation.

Last year, Utilities collected $64.7 million in water sales through May, compared to this year's $61.3 million.

The biggest gap between last year and this year came in May when Utilities' water revenue totaled $18.3 million compared to $23.3 million in May 2018.

Water consumption in May 2018 stood at 2.9 billion gallons, compared to 2 billion gallons in May this year.

Because Utilities forecasted sales through May 2019 at $18 million but brought in $18.3 million, "We were OK," says Utilities spokesperson Natalie Watts.

"In general," she says via email, "when we do forecasting we tend to [err] on the side of conservativeness because we don’t want to get ourselves into a financial hardship. This is especially true during the months of May and October because the weather can be so different during those two months from year to year. We try to build in a little bit of a cushion in case of a bad year."

Watts says Utilities projected $25 million in water revenue for June this year after receiving $29.6 million last year due to hot and dry weather.

However, already this month, about 1.5 inches of rain has fallen through June 18. That's brought the total precipitation so far this year to 6.85 inches, compared to 4.64 inches a year ago, according to the National Weather Service. (The 30-year average is 5.11 inches.)

Meantime, water consumption dropped correspondingly, from 2.1 billion gallons between June 1 through 18, 2018, to 1.4 billion gallons for the same period this year.

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