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Summer watering rules — no sweat

Declining outdoor watering violations highlight how Denver is embracing water efficiency.
Denver Water customers will get a summer watering rules guide in the mail this May.

When it comes to lawn watering, Denver leads by example.

Case in point, outdoor watering violations continue to decline each year. In 2017, there were around 750 reports of people watering outside the summer watering rules — nearly 1,700 less reports than we received in 2015.

“The numbers show that the majority of our customers are paying attention to their water use,” said Jeff Tejral, water efficiency manager at Denver Water. “Ever since the drought of 2002, we’ve really seen customers using water more efficiently.”

The annual summer watering rules, which are in place from May 1 to Oct. 1, have seven common-sense guidelines to ensure customers are irrigating efficiently, like limiting outdoor watering to three days or less per week and only during cooler times of day — between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

According to Tejral, as our customers’ water-use patterns continue to improve and violations become a thing of the past, our Water Saver program is evolving from having seasonal workers respond to water-waste complaints to utilizing the customer care team we already have in place.

“Like we do every year, when we’re notified about water waste, we’ll follow up with the property owner so they’re aware of any issues,” Tejral said. “If there are repeat violators who need additional and in-person assistance, one of Denver Water’s field service technicians will respond.”

Field technician Jim Rael worked in a similar role around the 2002 drought, before the Water Saver program began, adding water efficiency stops to his daily assignments.

These skilled technicians are in the field daily, reading and working on meters and responding to high-bill concerns by customers. If they see or are alerted to water waste at a property, they will talk with that customer or leave educational material on the door to notify them about the issue.

“Eliminating water waste has always been a priority for Denver Water,” Tejral said. “That goal will continue with these crews who are on the streets year-round and are already working with customers to solve problems.”

Tejral said the most common outdoor water-waste issues are watering during the day, watering sidewalks and broken sprinkler heads.

“In most cases, when we contact customers, they immediately fix the problems on their own,” he said. “Often people don’t even realize there’s a problem with their irrigation system and are appreciative of the notification.”

Tejral says there’s more to being an efficient water user than just following the rules, and recommends customers utilize rebates on smart irrigation controllers and high-efficiency sprinkler head nozzles.

“Right now, we classify 65 percent of our customers as efficient water users, and we want to reach 75 percent in the next five years,” Tejral said. “Efficient water users use 12 gallons of water or less per square foot in their yard per year.”

If you’re not sure what that looks like, check out those who’ve taken advantage of our discounted Garden In A Box program or others who’ve created their own functional landscapes for inspiration.

“We trust our customer’s to make smart decisions with their water,” Tejral said. “When we all work together, yards are prepared for the next drought and we’re in better shape with our limited water supply in the future.”

If you see water waste in the Denver Water service area, fill out this easy online form or call 303-893-2444 and we’ll work to notify the customer that there is an issue and provide them with educational information.