Drought and water restrictions

 Drought and water restrictions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Colorado Springs have mandatory water restrictions in 2018?
With a three-year water supply in storage, we are not anticipating mandatory water restrictions this summer season. As you head out to care for your landscape, we encourage the wise use of water.
I received a high water bill. Can you explain the tiered rates?
To encourage conservation and achieve community water savings, changes to the tiered rates structure are in effect for residential customers.  The less you use, the less you pay. Most water customers are able to remain in the first two pricing tiers -- even during irrigation season. Click here for more on residential water pricing.
A typical home uses about 50 percent of its annual usage for irrigation, while a typical business customer uses 35 percent of its annual usage for irrigation.
We encourage you to keep track of water use by using the free My Usage tool. You can check your daily water use, take advantage of online calculators and know what to expect before your bill arrives. Access My Usage by logging in to your online account (use the blue box to the right).

I've seen other communities implementing mandatory water restrictions. How many days a week should I water?
Each city receives its water from different areas throughout the state. Depending on their specific situations, other Front Range communities are implementing mandatory restrictions.  During the heat of the summer, we recommend watering three days per week to maintain a healthy landscape.

Can you offer any tips for my brown lawn?
As hotter, drier days continue, more of us may be seeing brown or what we perceive as dying lawns. 
The appearance of your landscape will change depending on drought and any rainfall we may receive. Many grasses can go dormant (turn brown), look straw-like and form bare spots. The good news is that most landscapes and lawns are resilient and will, if given proper care, bounce back when cooler temperatures return.
The important thing to do now is protect your root system. Continue to water according to the guidelines you’ve set for yourself. By applying one-half inch of water to each irrigation zone, you can help your lawn manage the effects of drought. It may not be green, but the root system below will be better positioned for a rebound.
We offer a number of landscape tips online. The fact sheet titled Strategies to Sustain Your Landscape During Drought is very helpful.

What does the future look like for our water supply and drought? Are we selling water to other cities?
As your local provider, we have responsibility to protect your water supply. Our first priority is to maintain a safe, reliable supply of water that will sustain families, residents and businesses. Water to prepare meals and bathe. Water to aide in local manufacturing. Water to help protect our community in times of crisis.
The Southern Delivery System came online in 2016, increasing water availablity for Colorado Springs.  Based on current projections, we have adequate water supply for the next 50 years.  We do, however, remain focused on securing more water supply for future generations.
How does Colorado Springs Utilities decide on water restrictions?

There are a variety of factors used to determine when we are in a drought including:

  • long range forecasts,
  • storage levels,
  • snowpack,
  • operational constraints, and
  • soil moisture.
If total system storage is projected to be below one-and-a-half years of demand in storage on April 1, the results are reported to the City Council with a recommendation for implementation of water shortage response measures.
Colorado Springs Utilities water supply experts create a forecast of water storage levels. If the forecast shows that storage will get below our risk tolerance threshold of one year of demand in storage, employees estimate how much water savings will be needed to keep us at or near that threshold.
Each stage of drought response has a corresponding estimate of expected water savings associated with it. We set the Water Shortage Ordinance stage by matching the amount of savings needed with the amount of savings expected from the various stages.