Extreme drought conditions, fire danger, and contaminated water in creeks: that’s the critical situation going on in the small town of Beulah.
On Tuesday, News 5 spoke with residents on how these conditions are impacting them. Gary Kyte, chair of Pine Drive Water District wants people in Beulah to know that the water flowing into their homes is safe. It’s coming from water tanks that have already been treated. However, people are under a critical usage policy because of just how dry it is. The town did get some rain last week, but all it did was make things worse.
Kyte said, "Evidently, that particular rain rained over the burn scar, the Junkins burn scar."
It’s been almost two years, but Beulah is still feeling the effects of the 2016 Junkins Fire. Last week’s rain caused debris and ash from the burn scar to flow into creeks.
"We feel that it impacted our raw water intake."
What the town needs now is another good rain, but not on the burn scar.
"It would flush or kind of scour out the creek bed and hopefully if it rains some more we could go back to treating water."
Kyte says between the contamination and the low water levels in the creeks doing treatment right now wouldn’t be worth it.
"We’re entering into a critical drought state. We’re going to have to make water or we’re going to have to purchase water."
The town is trying to hold on as long as possible by restricting water to residents. Households supplied by the Pine Drive Water District are allowed to use 60 gallons of water a day. Those using the Beulah Water Works District are allowed 80 gallons a day.
Resident Leena Mather said, "It’s scary right now. It is scary with the lack of water, how dry, no precipitation in sight."
Even so, people like Mather are looking for the good in this bad situation.
"I’m getting out of having to do dishes every day…you can find the blessings in it. You really can."
As for Kyte, he believes "you just have to look forward to the next good rain. It’ll be here."
Kyte says he and the chair of the Beulah Water Works District have been speaking with Pueblo County’s emergency management staff. They are looking at various short and long-term options for assistance (such as hauling water) if conditions don’t improve.
News 5 will keep you updated.