AURORA | As the Mountain West teeters toward yet another historic drought, Aurora’s water department is offering to xeriscape one local resident’s yard in an effort to promote more ergonomic landscaping.
Aurora Water this week launched a contest that promises to overhaul the winner’s yard by removing turf, adding flora and adding rocky outcroppings. The sweepstakes is intended to highlight the benefits of a so-called water-wise yards as the state grapples with below-average snowpacks, which translate to less moisture for Front Range spits of green.
“Aurora receives approximately 15 inches of precipitation per year, making it difficult to maintain a grass lawn without significant supplemental watering during summer months,” Elizabeth Roberts, spokesperson for Aurora Water, wrote in a news release. “ … Low-water landscapes often require less than half the water of a Kentucky bluegrass lawn.”
Residents interested in participating in the contest are asked to post a minute-long video explaining why they deserve a retooled lawn to their personal Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts and tagging @AuroraWaterCO. Local water officials will judge each video, whittle the contestants down to five finalists and announce a winner on May 22, according to the city.
The program technically begins April 5, and entries will not be accepted after April 30.
Participants must be Aurora homeowners, Aurora Water customers and at least 18 years old. Read the full rules here.
Earlier this week, Mayor Mike Coffman encouraged residents to participate in a national pledge to cut their water use this month as part of a national conservation effort. If Aurora ranks among the cities with the most pledges at the end of the month, a non-profit group will distribute prizes to those who signed the online promise.
Climate experts are bracing for potential water shortages across the west this summer as the state snowpack sits some 10% below average despite late spring storms that buried the metroplex, according to reporting from Fresh Water News this week.
One of the Colorado River Basin’s primary reservoirs, Lake Powell, is predicted to only be about half full in the coming months, according to data released at the beginning of March.
Aurora’s reservoirs currently sit less than two-thirds of their average capacities, Greg Baker with Aurora Water told Fresh Water News.
Aurora draws its water from the mountains in the Arkansas, Colorado and South Platte river basins.
“A lot of customers forget that we may have had some good snow down here but that is not where we collect our water,” Baker told the news network. “It happens up in the mountains.”