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Don’t waste Mother Nature’s gift

Weekend storm was no drought buster, but it does mean you can turn off your sprinklers for days.

The piles of snow left by last weekend’s storm have melted away, but lawns and landscapes are benefiting from the free water the storm brought to the metro area. 

That means lawns won’t need extra water, in the form of sprinklers and irrigation systems, for days, even a week as more rain is in the forecast. 

Denver Water saw customer demand drop by about half over the weekend as its customers did a great job responding to Mother Nature’s free water by turning off their sprinklers. 

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Snow falls on a garden.
Let all that water soak in! And challenge yourself: Don’t water your lawn until it needs it. (Take the screwdriver test.) Photo credit: Denver Water.

In fact, you’re doing your lawn a favor by turning off the sprinklers and keeping them off for several days after the weekend storm — or any upcoming rain. Babied lawns that get too much water too often can have trouble with Colorado’s hotter summer months. 

(And watering too much too often will drive up your monthly water bill to boot!)

“Your lawn can last longer than you think,” said Austin Krcmarik, a water efficiency expert at Denver Water. “Challenge yourself, see how long you can keep your sprinklers off.” 

An easy way to test for soil moisture is to probe your lawn with a screwdriver. If it goes into the soil easily, that indicates sufficient moisture. Watch the video below to see how quick and easy this test is to perform.

While the storm dumped up to 2 feet of snow in Colorado’s mountains, it wasn’t a drought buster. (And other parts of the state didn’t see much from the storm.)  Denver Water’s planners do not expect the utility’s reservoirs to completely fill this season.

“We hope to fill our reservoirs after every runoff season to help supply us through the hot summer months and into next year,” said Krcmark. “We already know that isn’t going to happen this season, but you can help keep water in our reservoirs by keeping those sprinklers off after storms.”

A general rule of thumb is that you can skip a watering day when we receive ¼ inch within 24 hours.

Weather watchers estimate the storm delivered 1 to 1.5 inches of water to the metro area. And, with the potential for more rain in Denver’s forecast, you may not need to water at all this week. 

For now, Denver Water’s regular summer watering rules remain in effect, but additional restrictions could be needed if conditions warrant this summer. 

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A man with a snowblower moving several inches of snow.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, which is in Denver Water’s watershed where the utility collects water, reported receiving 19 inches of snow from the weekend storm. Lots of snow, though unfortunately it wasn’t a drought buster. Photo credit: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.