Water System

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Water Situation

The City of Rawlins is under water restrictions for the watering season for 2022.  As with most of Wyoming, we are in a drought which is worsened by our infrastructure issues. We currently receive around 1.5 million gallons of water a day into the treatment plant and consistently use 1 million gallons per day for household use. Our flows are half of what they were last year at this time. 

We estimate that this is enough water for each home to give their lawn one good soaking a week. Although this is significantly less than what your lawn would need to be green and lush, the one day of deep watering will help it survive through this year. When there is not enough water available to keep turf green, watering deeper and less is more effective at helping it through the summer. Once a week watering also helps us monitor usage and keep the tanks filled. 

Our water situation will continue to improve as more and more infrastructure is repaired over the next few years. We also believe this is sufficient water to water gardens, flowers, trees, etc. as needed. For complete details on our outdoor irrigation restrictions, see our Outdoor Irrigation Restrictions page

In the summer, water use increases to 3 to 6 million gallons of water per day because of outdoor watering. This obvious shortfall in water supply needs to be taken seriously to have water available for our community. If our community waters the same amount as last year during restrictions, we estimate that our water tanks would be completely empty by mid-to-late June. 

What if the tanks get low? 

If the water tanks reach the point where they are even close to being drained, which could lead to water loss in our community and a boil water advisory, we would declare Limited Water Use. This is our method to ask the community to pull back on all water use as much as possible to allow the tanks to refill. 

Under limited water use, the restrictions are: 

  • Short showers as necessary
  • Maximum 1 load of laundry per day per family, only necessary items
  • Washing dishes with the minimum amount of water, dishwasher only when full 
  • Seasonal Notes: 
    • No outdoor irrigation.
    • If you cannot keep pipes warm, leave a slow water drip during freezing events. Burst pipes often waste more water. 

If Limited Water Use is declared, we will notify the public: on our website news flash (subscribe for email or texts at rawlinswy.gov/notifyme under "City of Rawlins News", though AlertSense (subscribe at www.rawlinswy.gov/AlertSense), on Facebook at City of Rawlins Government, through our Utility Bill payment software for all users with an email, through flyers in English and Spanish in high-traffic locations and businesses, and on mobile electronic signs throughout the community. 

What is being done? Will it improve this summer? 

The City of Rawlins has been working diligently this winter on our water infrastructure, including allocating over $2 million in repairs to our water infrastructure this year alone and applying for over $11 million in grants. We are also actively pursuing grants and loans for our major water infrastructure improvements which will exceed $15 million.  We are also working on a plan to bring the river water into the cemetery in the future, and potentially parks and sports fields so that our potable water is not needed for those locations. 

Currently, 10,000 feet of woodstave pipeline are being replaced in the Sage Creek Basin, the source of our spring water.  We also have extensive river water rights, but we do not have the means to clean the water without mixing it with springs/well water. To do so, we need the pre-treatment plant. We are working to bring the pre-treatment plant back online to help clean river water. 

However, until these two projects are complete, we cannot estimate what impact this will have on our water supply.  Water infrastructure plans and repairs are ongoing; we are optimistic that our situation will improve over the next few years, potentially even by the middle of the summer. 

Meetings 

The City of Rawlins and the Carbon County Extension Office will be hosting a Town Hall regarding our water infrastructure, need for water restrictions, and watering prioritization on May 19th at 6 pm at the Jeffrey Center. We encourage the public to attend and ask questions as we discuss wise water use, the current state of infrastructure, and the water restrictions. This will also be broadcast live online.

What about parks and other green spaces?

Typically, our Parks Division begins irrigation in late April. However, public safety is our City’s first priority. Parks Superintendent Tyrell Perry said, “We recognize the importance of water for public safety and that will be the main consideration this summer.” The Parks Division is postponing all irrigation of turf at this time; and will be meeting with the Water Division on a regular basis to see what watering can occur through the summer. Our parks, green spaces, and sports field will likely be brown and dry this year. We understand that the restricted watering will likely be seriously detrimental to the long-term health of our parks. 

Rochelle Ranch Golf Course is watered using raw river water, and does not affect our potable water supply. 

What about our required fire hydrant flow testing? 

In an effort to conserve water during our city-wide restriction, the Rawlins Fire Department will be flow testing only 15 out of the 130 fire hydrants required for annual testing. The other 115 will be inspected for any maintenance discrepancies, paint issues, and proper operation of hardware. Those 15 hydrants are the minimum number the Insurance Services Office (ISO) requires data on to ensure service testing is being accomplished. The proposed dates for testing are 19-20 May or 25-26 May, weather permitting. Please contact Fire Chief Blain Schumacher at (307) 328-4596 for additional information.

How does funding work for water infrastructure repairs?

Our water system is an enterprise fund, which means it runs as an independent business and must be self-sufficient by law. General funding, such as sales tax, cannot be used for our water system. 

What is the status of the pre-treatment plant, which will allow us to use more river water? 

The pretreatment plant hasn't been used for around a decade. It is unclear exactly what the status and operation of it is. In previous years, it was not as necessary because we had greater flows from the springs which do not require pre-treatment. However, one of our top priorities for this summer is hiring experts to get it running and train our operators. 

2022 Proposed Budget

Link to the 2022 Proposed Budget (approved on 2nd reading on May 17, 2022)

Want to find your current water usage? 

Login to your account at https://www.xpressbillpay.com If you do not have an account, one can be created by clicking sign up. You will need to create an account and have your water bill with your account number. 

Once logged in, you can see the total usage in hundreds of gallons due to our software functionality. Add two zeros to total usage for the total number of gallons used in the current month.Water Useage Example