03/27/2013 02:12 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2013

Denver Water Declares Stage 2 Drought For First Time In More Than A Decade: Mandatory Water Restrictions Will Be Enforced

Denver Water, Colorado's largest water utility, declared on Wednesday that a Stage 2 drought was in effect and that mandatory water restrictions will begin April 1.

“The last time we declared a Stage 2 drought was in 2002,” said Greg Austin, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners in a statement. “We are facing a more serious drought now than we faced then. Our goal this summer is to insure the availability of high-quality water to our citizens, given current conditions and an unknowable end to the drought cycle, protecting not only the quality of life of our community but also the long-term security of our city’s system.”

Beginning April 1, Denver Water customers may only water two days a week and must follow these rules:

  • Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in even numbers: Sunday, Thursday
  • Single-family residential properties with addresses ending in odd numbers: Saturday, Wednesday
  • All other properties (multi-family, HOAs, commercial, industrial, government): Tuesday, Friday

In addition to the above rules, customers must continue to follow the standard annual watering rules:

  • Do not water lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Do not waste water by allowing it to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.
  • Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete and asphalt.
  • Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
  • Do not water while it is raining or during high winds.

These rules are mandatory and will be enforced. Fines for not following the drought watering rules will result in up to a $500 fine for the third violation. Click here for more detailed Denver Water fine information.

Despite recent heavy snowfall, a Stage 2 drought was still declared because of lower than average snowpack in the South Platte and Colorado River basins which serves as Denver's water supply. Snowpack in the South Platte basin is 59 percent of average and the Colorado River basin is at 73 percent of average.

Denver Water has also adopted a drought pricing structure for customers to encourage less water usage during this drought period. Customers will see the pricing bills on or after June 1 and drought pricing will remain in effect until the drought restrictions are lifted.

The first 6,000 gallons of water used monthly in a single household, which is the average usage, will not be subject to drought pricing.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 88.97 percent of the Front Range and surrounding regions are in "severe" drought conditions and much of southern and eastern Colorado are "extreme" or "exceptional" drought conditions, as of the last measurement on March 19.

For more information on the drought declaration and for watering tips to visit Denver Water's website.



U.S. Drought 2012-2013