Operating Rules - Chapter 14 - Water Conservation


14.01   Water Waste Prohibited.  Water shall be used only for beneficial purposes and shall not be wasted. 

14.01.1  Water Waste Defined.  Prohibited water waste includes, but is not limited to:

a.         Applying more water than is reasonably necessary to establish and maintain a healthy landscape.  Routine watering of turf shall be limited to three days per week, except for watering for up to 21 days to establish new turf from sod or seed; and except for syringing golf course greens when necessitated by weather conditions.

b.         Watering with spray irrigation between the hours of 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. during the period from May 1 to October 1, except for the following uses:

(1)        Watering for up to 21 days to establish turf from seed or sod.

(2)        Watering new plant material such as flowers, trees and shrubs on the day of planting.

(3)        Watering essential to preserve turf subject to heavy public use.

(4)        Operating an irrigation system for installation, repair or reasonable maintenance, so long as the system is attended throughout the period of operation.

c.         Watering landscaped areas during rain or high wind.

d.         Applying water intended for irrigation to an impervious surface, such as a street, parking lot, alley, sidewalk or driveway.

e.         Using water instead of a broom or mop to clean outdoor impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways and patios, except when cleaning with water is necessary for public health or safety reasons or when other cleaning methods are impractical.

f.          Allowing water to pool or flow across the ground or into any drainage way, such as gutters, streets, alleys or storm drains.

g.         Failing to repair, for a period of more than ten business days after notice, leaking or damaged irrigation components, service lines or other plumbing fixtures.

h.         Washing vehicles with a hose that lacks an automatic shut-off valve.

14.01.2  “Water Use Restriction” Distinguished.  These prohibitions on water waste are not related to drought response, insufficient water supply or system emergency and therefore do not constitute water use restrictions within the meaning of Denver Water’s various water supply agreements and environmental permits.

14.02   Irrigation Uses.

14.02.1  Xeriscape.

a.         Definition.  Xeriscape is a set of seven horticultural principles that combine climate-compatible vegetation and other techniques to conserve irrigation water.

b.         Policy.  It is Denver Water’s policy to encourage Xeriscape landscapes throughout the service area.  Prohibitions on the use of Xeriscape are contrary to public policy.

14.02.2  Irrigation of More Than One Acre.  In order to extend the yield of Denver Water's water supply and to encourage the efficient use of water, the irrigation of landscape of more than one acre may be subject to special review.

a.         Contiguity Not Required.  "Open space of more than one acre" may include contiguous parcels or, in the discretion of Denver Water, several non-contiguous parcels located in close proximity to one another.

b.         Raw Water.  Denver Water may require water service from raw water sources for irrigation of open space of more than one acre if Denver Water determines, in its discretion that. (1) alternative raw water service can be made available by Denver Water; and (2) the cost of raw water service is competitive with the cost of additional potable or recycled water supply and is financially practical.

c.         Potable or Recycled Water.  Irrigation of open space of more than one acre with potable or recycled water will be permitted only after plan review and upon a finding by Denver Water that the proposed landscape and irrigation design will use water efficiently in view of the intended uses of the open space.  Denver Water may require the use of recycled water rather than potable water if Denver Water determines that recycled water is reasonably available.

14.02.3  Irrigation of Narrow Strips of Land.  Spray irrigation of narrow strips of land almost inevitably results in water waste.  Therefore, the following irrigation system and design requirements apply to irrigation of any strip of land less than 25 feet in width, including medians, parkways, traffic islands, parking lot islands and perimeters, rights-of-way along streets and other public or private areas along roadways.

a.         For strips of land less than 6 feet in width - Spray irrigation shall be prohibited.  Low-flow irrigation systems are required.

b.         For strips of land between 6 feet and 15 feet in width - Only low-flow irrigation, or spray irrigation using low-angle spray nozzles designed for the specific width to be irrigated shall be permitted.  All spray heads must be pressure reducing and designed to prevent low head drainage.

c.         For strips of land between 15 feet and 25 feet in width - Only gear-driven rotors with low angle nozzles may be used to irrigate turf areas.  Planting beds may be irrigated with low-flow or spray irrigation.  All spray heads must be pressure reducing and designed to prevent low head drainage.

14.02.4  Soil Amendment for Irrigation of Turf at Newly Licensed Premises.  Proof of proper soil preparation is required before installation of plant material. Penalties may apply if soil amendment is not completed prior to the installation of plant material. Proper soil amendment is the equivalent of adding approved compost at a rate of four cubic yards per 1,000 square feet of permeable area, incorporated (roto tilled) to a depth of six inches.

14.02.5  Rain Sensors Required.  A functioning rainfall sensor, with a battery backup, capable of turning off an automatic clock controlled irrigation system is required on the following irrigation systems installed after January 1, 2008. A list of approved devices is available from Denver Water.

a.         Irrigation systems connected to all irrigation-only taps, including those related to single family residential licensed premises.

b.         All irrigation systems connected to regular taps, except those serving single family residential licensed premises.

14.03   Industrial, Commercial and Public Use.

14.03.1  Best Management Practices.  Denver Water encourages all industrial, commercial and public use licensees to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) for efficient use of water.  A list of BMPs is available from Denver Water.

14.03.2  Heating or Process Water.  A water conservation device conforming to such specifications as may be required by Denver Water, shall be installed on heating, processing or other industrial or commercial uses of water whenever Denver Water determines in its discretion that recycling of the water without treatment is practical.

a.         Water Conservation Device.  For purposes of this section, a water conservation device is any equipment, process or procedure whereby all water used for heating or processing is either consumed in the intended use, or is recycled for the same purpose until it is unusable.

14.03.3  Cooling.  All evaporative or refrigerated cooling uses and air conditioning facilities that deliver water to a drain or other discharge facility without recycling or further use, are prohibited.  This includes any equipment, process or procedure which relies upon the temperature of the water supply for cooling purposes.

14.03.4  Car Washing.

a.         Fleet Vehicles.  Vehicles contained in commercial operations or fleets may be washed only by means of a car wash or washing equipment certified by Denver Water.

b.         Commercial Car Washes.  Commercial car washes are subject to a certification program that will require implementation of industry best management practices or achieve a 30% water savings as compared to a non-recycling car wash.  Any commercial car wash that is not certified or in the process of becoming certified, shall be deemed to be in violation of this provision.

14.03.5  Commercial Power Washing.  Commercial enterprises for which cleaning with water is an essential element of their business shall use only high efficiency equipment that uses 1.6 gallons per minute or less and is certified by Denver Water.

14.04   Decorative Water Features.  Decorative water features or similar water operating devices using potable or recycled water shall recirculate water within the device.  Each device connected to the Water System must have an approved back-flow prevention assembly as required by the Engineering Standards.

14.05   Lakes and Ponds.  Potable water shall not be used to fill or maintain water levels in lakes and ponds with a surface area over one?half acre, individually or in aggregate, or with an estimated annual consumptive use of three acre?feet (one million gallons) unless.

a.         no other source of water is available, as determined by Denver Water;

b.         the Directors of Planning and Public Affairs determine that the use of water will not adversely impact the Water System; and

c.         potable water will be used only on a non-recurring temporary basis.

14.06   Emergency Water Use Restrictions.  If conditions of supply or quality so limit the water supply of the water system that unrestricted water use may endanger the adequacy of that supply or quality, Denver Water may by resolution adopt emergency water use restrictions.  Emergency water use restrictions shall remain in force and effect until Denver Water determines that the conditions requiring their imposition no longer exist.  Denver Water may also adopt such regulations and restrictions as are reasonably calculated under all conditions to conserve and protect its supply and to insure a regular flow of water through its system.  Water use restrictions that may be imposed during drought conditions are contained in Chapter 15 of these Rules.

14.07   Enforcement.  The owner or occupant of the licensed premises shall be responsible for complying with Denver Water's regulations and restrictions.  Those who violate these regulations or restrictions will be subject to the penalties in force at the time of the violation.  Penalties may include.

a.         In the event of a first violation, the owner or occupant will be advised in writing and informed that a monetary charge will be added to the water bill for subsequent violations.

b.         In the event of a second violation at the same premises, the owner or occupant will be advised in writing, and a $50 charge may be added to the water bill.

c.         In the event of a third or any subsequent violation at the same premises, the owner or occupant will be advised in writing, and a $100 charge may be added to the water bill.

d.         Continuing waste of water or willful violation of Denver Water regulations or restrictions is cause for temporary suspension of the license.

14.07.1  Enforcement During Drought Conditions.  During a drought response program implemented under Chapter 15 of these Rules, water waste may be deemed a drought violation and penalized as provided in that chapter.