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Water Conservation

The Goals

  • Responsible Use: To reduce per capita total water use in Golden by at least 15% by 2030.
  • Drought Planning: To develop a resiliency plan by 2020 to prepare for a time where Golden’s and Colorado’s climate may be substantially warmer and drier than it is today.
  • Resource Recovery: To develop and implement a plan by 2020 where Golden’s surplus water is used effectively not only to manage the cost of water and sewer services, but to enhance the environment in Golden and elsewhere in our watershed. Additionally, to recover resources from the City’s wastewater by 2030.

Key Initiatives & Partnerships

Waste of Water Regulations (WOW)

Adopted by City Council in April 2023 as part of Golden’s Drought Management Plan, the Golden Waste of Water Ordinance outlines allowable and prohibited outdoor uses of water.

Allowable Outdoor Irrigation Uses  

  • Outdoor irrigation is allowed anytime between October 1 & April 30.  
  • Hand watering of gardens, annual, and perennial plants using an automatic shut-off valve is allowed anytime.  
  • Drip irrigation of gardens, annual, and perennial plants (except turfgrass) is allowed at any time.  
  • Automatic sprinkler irrigation is allowed up to three (3) days per week between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.   
  • Hand watering of gardens, annual, and perennial plants using an automatic shut-off valve is allowed anytime.  
  • Drip irrigation of gardens, annual, and perennial plants (except turfgrass) is allowed at any time.  

Prohibited Activities  

  • Allowing city irrigation water to pool or run off into the stormwater collection and conveyance system, regardless of month or time of day.  
  • Irrigating turf grass, gardens, annuals, or perennial species using an automated or manual sprinkler between May 1 and September 30, more than three days a week, or between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  
  • Failing to repair leaks, including leaks on irrigation systems, as required by the Golden Municipal Code.  
  • Avoid watering during high winds and after rain.  

An irrigation exemption allows for "automatic or manual sprinkler" irrigation beyond the Waste of Water Ordinance's "three days per week" irrigation specifications to establish a healthy root system for newly planted vegetation.

To request more detailed information or to receive a copy of Golden’s Water Efficiency Manual or the adopted Drought Management Plan, please contact

Outdoor Watering Best Practices

  • Fine tune irrigation systems by eliminating overspray onto cement and the street.
  • Wait to start watering until May. Leave lawn dormant a little longer than usual and hand water trees if necessary. Brown spots on the grass are okay!
  • Let your grass grow longer between mowings.
  • Use the cycle and soak method to irrigate and adjust watering time each month. You can watch a short video about how to implement cycle and soak.
  • Check sprinkler system at the beginning of each month and adjust the time.
  • Avoid watering during high winds and after rain.
  • Repair sprinkler system leaks and breaks, or turn off system.
  • Sign up for AquaHawk Alerting and monitor your account for leaks, breaks and unusual use.
  • Utilize City water conservation programs such as Garden In A Box, free irrigation audits (Slow the Flow), and our annual water-wise landscaping seminars.

Resource Central Partnership

Several water-saving programs are available for free or at a discounted rate for Golden water customers through Resource Central, an environmental nonprofit located here on the Front Range.

Visit for more information on available programs or visit our Sustainability Programs page for information on these programs and others available through the City of Golden.

How You Can Help

There are many small steps each member of our community can take to help achieve Golden’s renewable and efficient energy goals.

  • View our list of Sustainability Programs to see programs that can help you save water (and money).
  • Monitor Water Usage: Sign up for AquaHawk Alerting to keep an eye on your water bill and usage, and identify areas where you can cut back. This monitoring system will also help you identify leaks so you can fix them before the drips turn into gallons.
  • Rainwater Harvesting:  Did you know that Coloradoans can collect up to 110 gallons of rainwater in barrels at home? Rainwater “harvesting” can capture, store and direct rainwater runoff so you can put it to use on lawns, plants or gardens.
  • Reuse Greywater: Consider systems that reuse greywater for irrigation. These systems, also called a Laundry-to-Landscape (L2L) system, can redirect the water that drains from your washing machine to water your lawn or your garden. 
  • Install Water-Efficient Fixtures: Use low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets to reduce water usage.
  • Use Full Loads in Dishwashers and Washing Machines: Run these appliances only when they are fully loaded to maximize water efficiency.
  • Water Plants Wisely: Water your garden during the cooler parts of the day to minimize evaporation and use drip irrigation systems for efficiency. See above to learn more about our Waste of Water (WOW) regulations.
  • Choose Drought-Resistant Plants: Landscape with native and drought-resistant plants that require less water. Many options are available through the Resource Central Garden In A Box Program and the new Lawn Replacement Program.
  • Use a Broom, Not a Hose: Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of hosing them down.
  • Turn Off the Tap: Be conscious of running water when brushing teeth, washing hands, or doing dishes.
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