This appeared in our local paper today - BILL HETHCOCK THE GAZETTE Lawn-watering will be banned starting Sept. 22 for thousands of homes and businesses in the Cimarron Hills and surrounding areas east of Colorado Springs. The areas water supplier, the Cherokee Metropolitan District, has an all-time low supply, and the outdoor-watering ban is necessary to prevent faucets from running dry, said Kip Petersen, the districts general manager. A state Supreme Court hearing today could give Cherokee access to more water in the future, but the court isnt expect- ed to rule until December. In the meantime, people in the district should conserve, Petersen said. All outside irrigation needs to be stopped, Petersen said. We needed to take this step or a few months down the road there would be no water inside, and that just cant happen. Car-washing is also prohibited and no sod or seeding permits will be issued for the rest of the year, according to a letter Cherokee mailed its customers Thursday. Hand-watering of gardens, shrubs and trees will be allowed, Petersen said. Since June 1, homes and businesses in the Cherokee district have been restricted to watering two days a week. Many residents, upset at that restriction, were shocked by the outright ban. Forty angry homeowners descended on Cherokees board meeting Tuesday night. Norbert Pirri said his biggest worry is that the ban will lead to dead lawns and lower property values. Im going to water my yard, because if I dont Im going to have to pay $3,000 to resod, he said. Keith Hudson of Cimarron Hills said he could deal with more restrictions, but not a ban. Joyce Glaser of Cimarron Hills was furious that the water shortage was not addressed years ago. The districts board of directors in March declared a water emergency because of dry weather and a court ruling against the district. The court ruling limited Cherokees use of eight of the districts 17 wells, knocking 40 percent out of the districts water supply, Petersen said. The district will reach its pumping limits on four more wells by the end of September, leaving the district with only five wells to pump from, Petersen said. The district will lose an additional 25 percent of its supply when the pumping limits are reached. Cherokee is a metropolitan district, which means it provides water and other municipal services. It gets most of its water from the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Groundwater Basin. Basin managers and Cherokee are embroiled in a court battle over how much water Cherokee can pump from the basin. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments about that question today. The high courts decision will affect subdivisions in progress and planned in the fast-growing area. No new development has been approved in the area in 18 months because of the water shortage, Petersen said. Seventeen subdivisions that had preliminary approval are on hold. Another 22 developers are seeking approval to build new subdivisions, but Petersen said he wont give them the go-ahead until the shortage is solved. Existing water customers take priority over new development, said Ted Schubert, president of the Cherokee board. Cherokee provides water to about 5,250 homes and 350 businesses in Cimarron Hills. It also serves the 300-acre Claremont Ranch development under construction and other developments, primarily along Marksheffel Road. Cherokees boundaries run roughly east of Powers Boulevard, north of Platte Avenue and west of U.S. Highway 24. Cherokees borders extend beyond the Black Squirrel basin. Some water pumped from Cherokees wells in the basin is exported to users outside the basin, which led to the dispute now before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Cherokee is looking for water sources outside the Black Squirrel Basin. If it doesnt find new water sources or win in court, the next step would be limiting commercial use of water inside businesses and banning hand-watering before the faucets run dry, Petersen said.