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How to Conserve Water Usage at Home in Northern Colorado

Todd Sledge July 18, 2023

Colorado has long dealt with a water crisis, due to a combination of overusing water resources and more than two decades of substantial drought. In fact, the state has been listed as one of the few states with water shortages and one of the driest states in the country!
The state’s arid and semi-arid climate, coupled with increasing population growth and competing water demands, has exacerbated the situation. A primary factor contributing to the water crisis is the limited water supply due to the scarcity of natural water sources like rivers and streams. Colorado heavily relies on snowpack in the Rocky Mountains for its water supply, but with changing climate patterns and reduced snowfall, water availability has become uncertain. Additionally, the state’s population growth has led to increased demands for water in urban areas, further straining the already limited resources. Agriculture, another vital sector, also requires substantial amounts of water, creating a complex balancing act.
While we love the amount of sunshine we get here (and we have plenty of it!), we understand how vital water is for the flourishing of a community and the ecosystem as a whole. It can also pose a threat to each homeowner, who is required to spend more water and energy — and therefore money — keeping their grass and plants alive during the warmer months.
By adopting water-saving practices, households can significantly reduce their water bills. Conserving water not only lowers the amount of water consumed but also reduces the energy required for water treatment and distribution, leading to lower utility costs. In Colorado’s arid climate, where water scarcity is a pressing issue, every drop counts. By conserving water, individuals contribute to the overall preservation of this valuable resource and help ensure its availability for essential needs such as agriculture, ecosystems, and future generations. Plus, reducing water usage can have positive environmental impacts by conserving energy and reducing the strain on water sources, ultimately promoting a more sustainable and resilient community.
Thankfully, the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District (and other city programs and initiatives) are working diligently to address some of the water challenges facing our communities. In addition to their own action plans, they have implemented several strategies to encourage smart water consumption amongst residences — including some financial incentives, like free services and rebates for adhering to water-saving practices. We will mention a few of those resources below, but you can learn more about the FCLWD’s conservation efforts here. And you can specifically learn more about water conservation efforts in Fort Collins, in Greeley, in Berthoudin Windsor, and in Steamboat Springs.
If we work together with urgency and diligence, we can all contribute to preserving this precious resource for decades to come — and save some money in the meantime!

Embrace Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that focuses on water-efficient plant choices and design principles. By selecting native and drought-resistant plants, you can create a vibrant landscape that thrives with minimal irrigation. Replace high-maintenance grass lawns with native grasses or low-water ground covers, reducing the need for excessive watering. Not only does xeriscape provide a variety of vibrant colors and textures, it can help lower outdoor water use by 30-50%! Get more information about xeriscape in NoCo, including local resources and answers to FAQs, here.
Need some help? Contact one of the many amazing landscape designers working throughout Northern Colorado. They will know how to effectively create the xeriscape oasis of your dreams!
In the meantime, if you need some inspiration, the City of Greeley has a list of xeriscape demonstration gardens in the area! And here are some others from the City of Fort Collins.

Start Harvesting Rainwater

Capture and utilize rainwater through rain barrels or larger cisterns. This practice not only conserves water but also reduces the strain on municipal supplies. Rainwater can be used for irrigation, reducing reliance on potable water sources.
Keep in mind that there are several rules in place for collecting rainwater in the state of Colorado. It can only be collected in a rain barrel located above ground of a residential home, collecting water from a rooftop downspout. You cannot have more than two barrels with a combined storage capacity of 110 gallons or less. And the water collected can only be used for outdoor purposes, including irrigating your lawn, washing your car, filling your hot tub, etc. Click here for more information about collecting rainwater in Colorado.

Install Efficient Irrigation Systems

Upgrade your irrigation system to ensure efficient water usage. Consider installing a drip irrigation system or using micro-sprinklers to deliver water directly to the roots, minimizing evaporation. Smart irrigation controllers equipped with weather sensors adjust watering schedules based on real-time conditions, preventing unnecessary watering during rainy periods. Here are some of the best smart devices, according to The New York Times.
Efficiency Works is a collaborative effort between Platte River Power Authority and the utilities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland designed to help customers save energy and water, offering instant rebates on a number of water-saving products, for both inside and outside the home.

Fix Leaks and Avoid Water Waste

Regularly inspect your plumbing fixtures, pipes, and irrigation systems for leaks. Even minor drips can result in significant water loss over time. Repairing leaks promptly helps save water and reduces water bills. Additionally, avoid wasteful practices such as leaving taps running while brushing teeth or letting irrigation systems overwater lawns.
If you live in Fort Collins, you can sign up for a free sprinkler checkup to make sure your system isn’t sending water and money down the drain. Bring in the experts to make sure you’re getting the most out of every single drop! Schedule your free checkup here.

Practice Efficient Indoor Water Use

Conserve water indoors by adopting simple habits. Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, which reduce water usage without compromising water pressure. Collect excess water while waiting for it to heat up and use it for other purposes, like watering plants. And opt for full loads when using dishwashers and washing machines, maximizing water efficiency.
If you install new water-saving toilets and/or washing machines, you could qualify for a $50 rebate from Fort Collins Utilities! Get more information here. Plus, the Larimer County Conservation Corps offers free installation of efficiency products.

Be Mindful With Outdoor Watering

Water outdoor plants during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to minimize evaporation. Adjust sprinklers to prevent overspray onto pavements and ensure water is reaching the intended areas. And avoid watering during windy conditions to prevent water loss due to drift.
Consult this list of best practices for water-wise lawn care from the City of Fort Collins, which includes recommended watering times, helpful watering and mowing tips, and more.

Educate and Raise Awareness

Spread the message of water conservation to your family, friends, and community. Share tips, resources, and success stories to inspire others to join in conserving water. Engage in local conservation initiatives and participate in community programs promoting sustainable water practices. As mentioned, each community in Northern Colorado is heavily involved in water conservation efforts — so they are an excellent place to start!

Water You Going to Do?

What water-saving practice are you going to implement first? Every drop counts!

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