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2014 Rules for Outdoor Water Use

Water is a limited resource in our dry climate, and using water wisely not only saves you money, but it′s the right thing to do. Remember to adjust your automatic sprinklers or manual watering times monthly based on weather conditions.

Denver Water is enforcing its annual water rules, which run May 1 to Oct. 1.

  • 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 or 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.

  • Penalties

    These rules are mandatory. Penalties are:

    • 1st violation — warning.
    • 2nd violation — $50 fine. 
    • 3rd violation — $100 fine.
    • Continued violations can result in suspension of service.
  • Watering times

    Adjust watering times at least once per month.

    Get to know your timer. Adjust your automatic controller or manual watering times each month based on weather conditions.

    Use this chart as a starting point to determine the number of minutes to water each zone on the days you water. These times are averages. Adjust your watering minutes based on rainfall, type of grass or plants, sunny or shady locations and other characteristics.

    Program your controller or timer to water in cycles to allow water to soak into the ground.

    Watering two 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 a week.

      Minutes to water per zone (for lawns, based on three days per week)
    Fixed spray head
    Fixed spray heads
    Rotor head
    Rotor heads
    Rotary nozzle
    Rotary nozzles
    Manual sprinkler
    Manual sprinklers
    January – April Water trees and shrubs as needed.
    May 12 24 30 18
    June 17 35 43 26
    July 18 36 45 27
    August 14 27 34 20
    September 11 23 28 17
    October – December Water trees and shrubs as needed.

    Remember, no watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to avoid water loss from evaporation. These times are based on a sprinkler system running at an efficient level.

    Read more information and tips for watering your lawn. Keep track of your water use (past and present) and customize a water budget or irrigation schedule for your landscape needs.

  • Rules for watering new plant material

    Denver Water customers with new plants, including seed, sod, annuals, shrubs or trees, may water as necessary for up to 21 days. After 21 days, routine watering is limited to no more than three days per week and not between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Please amend the soil with compost prior to planting. Soil amendment improves water retention in the root zone and leads to successful plant establishment.

    During this exemption period, customers are still responsible for the increased costs associated with higher water use.

    In order to receive a watering exemption, the newly landscaped area must be at least 250 square feet and contiguous. To submit your request for a 21-day watering exemption, call 303-893-2444 or email customercare@denverwater.org.

  • Report waste!
    • If you see water waste in Denver parks (water use that doesn’t meet the rules above), call 3-1-1 to report the waste.
    • To report water waste anywhere else, call Denver Water at 303-893-2444.
  • The more you use, the more you pay

    Outdoor watering accounts for about 50 percent of single-family residential water use annually. You can manage your water bill by managing how you water your landscapes. Learn more about Denver Water’s rates.