Rain isn’t the weather forecast, but the lawn-watering season in Fort Collins is coming to an end.
Mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use in the city go into effect Thursday. Under the restrictions, watering lawns, washing cars and other outdoor water uses will not be allowed.
Fort Collins is restricting outdoor water use in hopes of avoiding a water supply shortage. Officials are concerned about potential impacts to the city’s water supply from ongoing drought conditions, the Cameron Peak Fire and a maintenance project at Horsetooth Reservoir.
During the restrictions, residents may water trees and food-producing gardens by hand or with drip systems. Blowouts of lawn-irrigation systems are allowed.
Exceptions to the lawn-watering restrictions may be made for new lawns and athletic fields for health and safety reasons.
The restrictions do not apply to the use of untreated or “raw” water. Many parks and athletic fields are watered with untreated water.
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There are no restrictions on residential or commercial indoor water use, including commercial car washes.
The Fort Collins-Loveland and the East Larimer County water districts, which serve parts of Fort Collins, also are asking customers to stop outdoor water use as of Oct. 1.
Fort Collins Utilities gets about half of its water from Horsetooth Reservoir and half from the Poudre River.
The water level at Horsetooth Reservoir is expected to be drawn down this fall so crews can work on the Horsetooth Outlet Project, or HOP.
The project involves repairs and upgrades to the outlet from Soldier Canyon Dam, which is one of four dams on the reservoir. The outlet directs water to the city’s water treatment facility and the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant.
The work will be led by Northern Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The project is expected to begin around mid-October and last 30 to 45 days.
The restrictions will be enforced by utilities staff members, who will follow up on formal complaints. City code compliance officials will also monitor outdoor water usage as part of their normal work.
Fines for violations could range from $50 to $1,000 for residential water users and $250 to $1,000 for businesses.
Mandatory outdoor water restrictions in Fort Collins go into effect Oct. 1. They are expected to be lifted by Nov. 30.
In addition to a ban on lawn watering, restrictions include:
- No residential car washing
- No dealership vehicle washing except upon sale
- No city fleet vehicle washing unless approved by the city manager for health and safety reasons
- No power-washing of impervious surfaces except for essential uses, such as for health and safety purposes and graffiti abatement
- No dust-control measures using water unless no alternative exists
- No outdoor misting devices, such as those used at restaurants
- No splash parks or water features
For more information on water restrictions or to apply for an exception permit, visit fcgov.com/utilities/water-restrictions.
For information on the Horsetooth Outlet Project, visit fcgov.com/utilities/horsetooth-outlet-project.