Gutter Helmet Blog
Blog

Watch Out, Denver. The Water Police Are Watching You

Image: slice.seriouseats.com

The United States in deep in the midst of another summer, which means a lot of hot, dry weather for many Americans. And, as seems to be the case every year, some regions are not getting the rainfall that they need, which keeps their gutters dry and their yards parched.

One such area is the city of Denver, Colorado. That city’s Board of Water Commissioners has declared that Denver is currently in what is known as a Stage 1 drought. That’s the least severe of a four-stage drought system, and it represents a total capacity of service district reservoirs between 75% and 95%. As a result of the Stage 1 designation, Denver water customers are being urged to conserve water any way they can.

The drought conditions mean that Denver will step up its efforts to enforce the annual summer watering rules for city residents. Those people who exceed these limitations may receive a visit from the “water police.” From now until October 1, officials with the Water Safety Patrol have the authority to cite homeowners for violation of the water rules. Here is a synopsis of those restrictions.

  1. No watering is allowed between the hours of 10am and 6pm.
  2. No watering is allowed on more than three days in a given week.
  3. Residents are urged to limit the amount of watering for each “zone” of their property. While it’s doubtful that the water police will use a stopwatch to monitor zone watering times, they will issue citations if a given zone is watered excessively. Consult this chart for recommended zone watering times during the hot weather months.
Minutes to water per zone (for lawns, based on three days per week)

Fixed spray heads

Rotor heads

Rotary nozzles

Manual sprinklers
May 14 29 33 21
June 16 35 41 24
July 18 39 45 27
August 14 31 36 22
September 11 23 27 16

Source: denverwater.org

  1. No watering is allowed during rain or high winds.
  2. Do not position sprinklers so that pavement, concrete, or asphalt is being watered significantly.
  3. Do not allow water to pool in alleys, streets, or road gutters.
  4. Repair any leaking or malfunctioning sprinkler heads within 10 days.
  5. If you are planting new grass seed or sod, you can water it as necessary for a 21-day period. But you must obtain a permit exempting you from summer watering rules before putting in your new grass.
  6. Do not wash your car without using a hose nozzle equipped with a shutoff valve.

So what happens if you violate these rules? A warning will be issued on the first violation, but a fine of $50 can be assessed on a repeat violation. A third citation carries with it a fine of $100. Continued violations may result in the homeowner’s water service being suspended. (In practice, homeowners are actually getting up to three warnings before fines are being levied.)

Many municipalities have similar regulations for water usage during the summer months. But even if yours does not, these rules represent common-sense guidelines for the prevention of water waste. So while conserving water is always important, it is especially vital during summertime when communities may be faced with water shortages. Be sure and do your part!