2017 Rules for Outdoor Water Use

Water connects us all. Denver Water’s summer watering rules ensure we have enough water now and in the future. Water belongs to everyone, and we are all responsible for using it wisely. Summer watering rules are enforced 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 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.

*These rules are mandatory. Repeat offenders may be fined.


  • Rules for watering new seed and sod

    Denver Water customers with newly planted seed or sod may water new turf 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. To submit your request for a 21-day watering exemption, call 303-893-2444 or email customercare@denverwater.org.

    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. Keep in mind that you may see an increase in your water use upon watering for up to 21 days.

    Tip: Amending the soil with compost prior to planting will help to establish new plant material more successfully. Denver Water recommends that you till compost into the areas that you are planting. Learn more about the benefits of compost.

  • Lawn watering times

    Use the 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.

    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/high-efficiency nozzle
    Rotary/high-efficiency 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.

    *These times are based on a sprinkler system running at an efficient level. Remember, no watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    Tip: Water, rest, water

    To maximize efficiency and allow the soil time to soak up the water, add multiple start times and reduce each zone’s watering time. For example, a 14-minute run time may be irrigated for 7 minutes, turned off while another zone is irrigated, then irrigated for the remaining 7 minutes to achieve the total 14-minute run time.

    Rotary/high-efficiency nozzle information.

    Read more information and tips for watering your lawn.

  • Report water waste
    • If you see water waste in Denver parks (water use that does not meet the rules call 3-1-1).
    • To report water waste anywhere else, call Denver Water at 303-893-2444 or

    Report Online

  • Hydrate your mind

    Thirsty for stories about how Denver-area residents are remodeling their yards with water-efficient landscapes? Or, are you interested in learning more about how Denver Water is managing this precious resource? Check out TAP, Denver Water’s news site showcasing the expertise of our employees by taking readers behind the scenes for a close-up look at what it takes to run a world-class water system.

    From in-depth articles to quirky videos, there’s something in it for everyone.

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