Back to top

Summer Watering Rules

Following the summer watering rules is the right thing to do in our dry climate and helps preserve reservoir levels, reducing the risk of water restrictions in the future. The watering rules incorporate best practices for efficient outdoor water use that will help keep your landscape healthy.

Summer watering rules are in effect 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.

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.

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 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. 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.


Individual actions, regional impact

Lake Powell straddles Utah and Arizona and is the second-largest reservoir in the United States, storing water from the Colorado River. Its water level has a big impact on Denver Water. Photo Credit: Bureau of Reclamation.

Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin, which provides half of Denver’s water supply, has experienced a historic drought, impacting regional water supply for the seven states that rely on the river for drinking water, hydropower, agriculture and recreation.

The individual actions we take in our homes and businesses to use water efficiently every day make a difference in efforts to keep the Colorado River healthy and flowing in our state, in our region and for future generations. We are all in this together. And we all have a responsibility to use water wisely.

Stay informed about local and regional water issues. Sign up to get a free weekly newsletter at

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