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May 9, 2022
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Summer watering rules in Denver? Let’s dive in

Did you know lawns are often the largest source of water use for homes around Denver?

Water use around town is shaping up to be an important topic this summer. While we can all hope for some incredible summer storms – similar to the storm in the cover photo to this post, which rolled through Central Park a few years ago and (lightly) flooded our street in Northfield – the reality is Colorado’s mountain snowpack is low.

Denver Water‘s two collection areas ended this past winter season below average – measured at 71% of average on April 26 in the Upper South Platte River Basin and at 86% of average on April 28 in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

As many of us go through the sprinkler turn-on, aerating, and yard cleaning process the next few weeks, we wanted to check in on Denver Water’s outdoor watering rules. These rules went into effect on May 1st and last through October 1st.

Last fall at my home we went through an analysis of our water use. Our family wants to make a big push this summer to see (for you limbo fans) “how low can we go?”

More efficient sprinklers, better water use optimization based on data (this continues to be one of the most interesting and fun aspects of this for me), and focusing on water efficient plants and landscaping are all things we’ve been focusing on at home the past few years.

With all that said, here are Denver Water’s outdoor watering rules:

Outdoor watering rules are in effect May 1st to October 1st:

  • Water during cooler times of the day — lawn watering is NOT allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Water no more than three days per week.
  • Do not allow water to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.
  • Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete and asphalt.
  • Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
  • Do not irrigate while it is raining or during high winds.
  • Use a hose nozzle with a shut-off valve when washing your car.

According to Denver Water, watering 2 days a week should be sufficient during most of the summer.  If needed, water a third day during extreme heat or dry periods. Water trees and shrubs as needed, but not between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Shrubs and perennials need half as much water as lawns.

There are no assigned watering days, but never water a zone more than three days per week.

If you have newly planted seed or sod, you may water the new turf as necessary for up to 21 days. After 21 days, the seed or sod is subject to outdoor watering rules. To submit your request for a 21-day watering rules exemption, call 303-893-2444 or submit Customer Care Contact Form.

If you are requesting a watering exemption, the newly landscaped area should be 250 square feet or larger. It is wasteful to run an irrigation system on an area any smaller, and you can hand water areas that are less than 250 square feet.

Denver Water also has recommended watering length time periods on its website that vary based on rainfall, type of grass or plants, sunny or shady locations, types of sprinklers, and more.

There are more rules and information on Denver Water’s website, so check back regularly for tips or in case rules change.

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