City of Colorado Springs / Environmental Sustainability / Sustainability Plan / Water

Community water conservation efforts and goals that we're learning about...

Pikes Peak Region Sustainability Project Stretch Goals state that by 2030, the region's water use should be met by currently-owned water supply and be as efficient as possible through application of best management practices. Achieving this goal means:

1.       Residential water use is at or below 80 gallons/person/day.

2.       Landscaping is efficient, low-water use or water wise.

3.       80% of commercial and industrial users in the region employ best water management practices.

4.       Non-potable water meets 30% of regional water needs.

5.       More efficient agricultural water use is encouraged and agricultural water is protected by use of innovative methods to keep ranches and farms producing in the region.


Fort Carson plans to reduce the total water purchased from outside sources by 75% from its 2001 baseline by 2027. Their main water conservation focus is through efficient consumption, reducing treated wastewater effluent, increasing the quantity of water re-use and development of sustainable water source solutions.  Means of reducing outside water use for irrigation (estimated at 50% of total water used) and increasing the use of nonpotable sources for watering will be emphasized.  Sustainable energy and development goals will support water reduction as well.


Colorado College recently completed a water assessment for major campus buildings. The College will strive for at least a 20% reduction in indoor water use through conservation and efficiency measures. The long term goal is to become "net water neutral" consuming only as much water as falls on the campus in average annual precipitation. They will retrofit water fixtures and fittings with low flow efficient models. They will utilize native or climate-tolerant plants to reduce maintenance, conserve water, prevent erosion and reduce the need for chemicals.


The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has established water conservation practices and planning throughout campus to reduce both domestic and outdoor water use, decrease utility costs and provide a model of effective storm water management. They plan to decrease outdoor (irrigation) water use intensity (per square foot) on campus by 10%. They plan to decrease indoor water use in existing buildings by 10%. They have a goal of 30% water use reduction over conventional buildings for all new construction projects. Since 2000, irrigation controls have been computer-based, with a controller clock in each zone connected to satellite clocks. Several artificial turf fields have been installed to greatly decrease water and maintenance for playing fields.


Colorado Springs Utilities educates and encourages customers to save water. Colorado Springs Utilities plans to maintain low residential use per capita, reduce peak day demand and gain a better understanding of how commercial customers use water.  Specifically, their 2008-2012 Water Conservation Plan calls for a reduction from 2007 annual forecast water demands of 7.5% by 2017. Colorado Springs Utilities also intends on developing and maintaining collaborative relationships that encourage water conservation and efficient water use throughout the region to help ensure that water savings is sustained. They intend to establish a reputation as a national leader in water conservation and efficient water use by implementing sustainable programs.


The United States Air Force Academy plans on using water resources responsibly and promoting conservation when possible.


The State of Colorado has a Greening Government goal to reduce water consumption by 10% by 2012 based on 2006 levels.


And, here's what other communities are doing...






         Plan promotes decreased water use through more compact urban living and less landscaping.



         With substantial support from Denver Water, convert three park and parkway sites to native vegetation, which uses as little as 20% of the water, no chemicals, and requires few other resources for maintenance.

         Convert an additional 100 acres of bluegrass turf to native vegetation, ultimately reducing water consumption by 4 million gallons annually.

         Demonstrate wise water use in City and other public facilities, buildings and parks.

         Denver Water has developed a 10-Year Conservation Plan that, if approved by the Denver Water Board and successfully implemented, will achieve water use reductions of 22% from 211 gallons per capita per day (GCD) in the year 2000 to 165 GCD in the year 2016.

         Time-of-Purchase Retrofits - Requires retrofit of indoor fixtures to meet current efficiency standards in the Uniform Building Code and leak repair for all existing single family and multifamily homes at the time-of-purchase.

         New Homes Rating System ? Expansion of the Built Green program of Denver Metro Homebuilders Association to create a point system for water efficiency. Points will be awarded for water efficient practices and efficient water fixtures.

         Commercial and Industrial Incentives - Commercial and industrial customers can receive up to $80,000 for improving water efficiency.

Douglas County


         Encourage wastewater systems that recycle and reuse effluent.

         Minimize water consumption in residential and nonresidential development.

         Strongly encourage landscape design that minimizes water consumption, such as xeri­scape and native plants, in new and existing development.

         Limit the size and location of irrigated land­scapes, such as turf grass areas.

         Encourage compact development patterns that conserve water resources.

         Encourage homeowners associations, special districts, developers, and residents to implement standards that promote conserva­tion practices.

         Encourage new development to have the capability of using a conjunctive use system.

         Encourage the use of treated wastewater and recycled water, if available, for intensive industrial uses and on-site landscape irrigation.

         Ensure that land use applications address water supply standards which include water quantity, dependability, and quality.

         Discourage high capacity wells which could potentially impact rural wells.

         Work with municipalities, other counties, water providers, and user groups in planning for long-term water supplies.

         Promote public education and public awareness about water supply issues.

         Ensure that information about water is readily accessible and available (i.e., on the internet and at Douglas County offices.)

Fort Collins


         Reduce water use on City-owned landscapes.

         Convene a task force of irrigation/landscape managers yearly to identify opportunities to optimize irrigation efficiency.

         Identify three sites to pilot for improved irrigation efficiency.  Audit the sites for initial efficiency, evaluate opportunities to improve irrigation, implement changes where appropriate, and monitor results. Commence in 2006 and select three new sites each year thereafter.

         Waterless urinals are installed in select buildings.

         Continue to use water efficient devices wherever possible.

         Low flow and composting toilets in Parks facilities.



         Recharge groundwater to replace the water used from local lakes.

         Upgrade existing building stock and infrastructure to decrease water use.

         Legalization of greywater reuse for landscaping.

         Water conservation through faucet retrofit kits and programs.

         Reduce potable water use through grey water recycling.



         Conserve the use and protect the sources of water.

         Work to provide exceptional flood protection.

Salt Lake City

         Encourage water-conserving landscaping and protect water resources.

         Protect ground and surface water supplies from unsustainable depletion.

         Eliminate unnecessary waste in water use practices.

         Reduce wastewater treatment volume and associated municipal expenditures.

         Promote the increased use of harvested and recycled water for irrigation needs.

         Land use regulatory provisions that protect water quality and achieve conservation through such strategies as: requiring low-water use landscaping and plants selection criteria, allowing use of rain gardens, drainage swales, and other facilities as part of infrastructure, providing options for grey water use, especially for landscaping, overriding homeowner covenants that require high percentages of turf grass on lawns and common areas, and establishing zone districts and use regulations that minimize potential adverse impacts on water sources.

         Reducing indoor water use by 5%, for a savings of 1.1 billion gallons per year.

         Reducing outdoor water use by 20%, for a savings of 4.3 billion gallons per year.

         Encourage the use of drought tolerant urban vegetation, green roofs, and strategically placed trees.

San Diego

         The City aims to use a minimum of 70,000 acre feet per year of reclaimed water by the year 2010. A mandatory ordinance shall be drafted which will require the use of reclaimed water instead of potable water wherever available.

         City buildings retrofitted with faucet flow restrictions.

         Promote landscape and irrigation practices that encourage low water demand in both private and City owned sectors.

          Encourage efficient water softener usage, low water demand demonstration gardens and water conservation home designs.

         Set up policies that encourage water reclamation and reuse.


         Encourage local industry to adopt water and energy conservation measures that would minimize impacts to the environment in their operations.

         Continue and expand the current water conservation program and investigate feasibility of using reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and water features throughout the city.

         Consider multiple use of facilities when planning resource conservation programs, including the integration of recharge sites with natural habitat.

         Continue the development of the effluent reuse system, and management policies to guide efficient use of reclaimed water.

         Encourage landscapes which limit the amount of turf area to ?people places? and make optimal use of indigenous desert plants.

         Promote residential and commercial water conservation.

         Minimize the amount of water loss by maintaining an efficient distribution system.

         Reuse treated wastewater whenever it is permitted and cost effective to do so.

         Use the city?s Water Campus as an environmental education center to foster public awareness and acceptance of water reuse and wastewater reclamation.

         Reduce the rate of growth in residential water consumption per household through educational programs and perhaps incentive programs in the future.

         Explore and promote the use of gray water.


         Connection to future gray water utility for irrigation.

         Rain sensor to shut off irrigation during rainstorm.

         Separate irrigation systems for trees/shrubs and sod so that the trees and shrubs can be irrigated during drought restrictions.

         Irrigation systems in future parks to allow for spray irrigation in sod areas only and drip irrigation in all other areas.

         Plant selections in parks use low water species.

         Using recycled water for irrigation and industrial uses has proven to be a valuable and viable solution?both economically and environmentally.