For the first time ever, the city of Aspen has declared a water shortage.

The lean snowpack is to blame. That along with a warmer than normal summer and little rain has forced the Aspen City Council to take action. "After a warm spring and summer, conditions have deteriorated, so we are recommending a Stage 2 shortage," said Margaret Medellin, the city's utility portfolio manager. "Stage 2" means mandatory restrictions for all Aspen water customers. That includes no watering of lawns more than three days a week and no more than 30 minutes per day. Violators could face fines up to $500.

As I walked from my place in the near 100-degree heat down to last weeks Grand Junction farmer's market I noticed several sprinkler systems that were on. A few looked to be watering the sidewalk and street for effectively than the grass. We've been in a drought situation for months and a glance of the Grand Junction weather forecast shows a 0% chance of rain for days.

Grand Junction and Mesa County have been in a "voluntary" water restriction situation since early May. Is it time to ramp it up to "mandatory"? You can download the Mesa County Drought Response Plan by clicking HERE.

Credit: The Aspen Times