Colorado Springs and Colorado in general have been hit hard by drought these past few years. Water supplies have fallen far below normal and are currently less than 50%. For that reason, the Colorado Springs City Council approved moving to the Stage II provision (Warning Phase) of the Water Shortage Ordinance.
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has proactively developed a layered contingency drought response plan that invokes mandatory water restrictions and moderates water waste. The planned intention is to meet the essential needs of the community while achieving a water-savings goal of 30% between April and October. These mandatory water restrictions were put into effect April 1, 2013, and apply to both commercial and residential properties. In addition to water restrictions, price adjustments have been implemented in order to encourage water savings.
Outdoor landscape watering is allowed two days per week on designated days. Residents and commercial properties may water on their designated days for up to three hours, and may not water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (May 1 through Oct. 1).
The watering schedule is as follows:
- Residential customers with even numbered addresses – Sundays & Wednesdays
- Residential customers with odd numbered addresses – Tuesdays & Saturdays
- Commercial customers – Mondays & Fridays
Trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens may be watered on any day of the week at any time with a handheld hose equipped with a positive shut off nozzle, a watering can or a drip irrigation system (turf grass is excluded from these methods).
It is anticipated that even with the water restrictions the health of vegetation and landscapes can be maintained by implementing the following recommended water duration per irrigation zone: Pop-up Sprinklers – 20 minutes, Hose-end Sprinklers – 20 minutes, Rotating Sprinklers – 45 minutes, and Rotary Nozzles – 60 minutes. Note that rainfall sensors are required on all irrigation systems installed after April 1, 2013.
Water waste is prohibited! Customers are responsible for making sure that water does not pool or flow across ground or pavement and the washing of hard surfaces is disallowed. Any leaks in irrigation systems must be repaired within four business days. Water features must be re-circulating and may only be run for 14 hours per day.
Additional restrictions include:
Limiting the days and times that vehicles may be washed to Saturday, Sunday or the assigned watering day, and only with an active positive shut-off nozzle. Commercial car washes may be patronized at anytime as most car washes recycle 80-90 percent of their water.
Ponds may only be filled or refilled on designated watering days with a handheld hose equipped with an active positive shutoff nozzle.
Options are available for customers with special requirements. Customers establishing a new lawn can apply for an Establishment Permit which requires the use of soil amendment. Qualifying customers with larger lots that will require more than 3 total hours of irrigation on designated watering days, can apply for an Alternative Water Management Plan (AWMP). Additionally, water savings rebates are available for irrigation systems, toilets, and more. Check www.csu.org for detailed information on programs available.