By Lucas Vader
2020 has been a dry year according to all local sources, but Orchard City claims it will be okay this year. This is according to Dick Kirkpatrick, town trustee and water committee member with a career background in water systems.
“Compared to an average year, we’re definitely [not] as bad as 2018, which was the drought year, but we’re just now doing enough better that didn’t have to implement drought charges, or drought fees,” Kirkpatrick said.
According to Kirkpatrick, the town is not benefitting from last year’s exceptional water conditions now as much as people may think. Since the mountainsides were dry and “thirsty” from the 2018 drought, much of the heavy snowfall of last year melted only to be absorbed by the mountainside.
“I don’t think that last year probably had a lot of impact on this year other than last year really had charged the mountain,” Kirkpatrick said. Because of that, they likely received more runoff this year than they otherwise would have if the mountains were still in a condition to absorb water.
Either way, Kirkpatrick said he’s confident that the water situation won’t pose issues this year.
“I think we have enough water on Grand Mesa that we can transfer to our reservoirs,” Kirkpatrick said. “We have one reservoir called Little Jim and we try to make sure that it’s full on Nov. 1 because we have enough water in there to actually carry us through the winter until we start getting melt again.”
That being said, Kirkpatrick went on to confirm that this winter will need to be better than the last in order for Orchard City not to have troubles next year.
“If we have another year like this, it’s not going to keep the reservoirs full,” Kirkpatrick said. “Like usual, this area is really dependent on that white stuff in the wintertime, so the more that there is and the more water that there is, the better off we are.”