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Conserving Water Outdoors

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More than 50 percent of water consumption happens outdoors, so it also provides the greatest potential to reduce consumption.

Tips for Outdoor Water Conservation


  • Make sure your irrigation system is functioning properly.
  • Get a FREE sprinkler inspection (also known as an irrigation audit) from Resource Central, a non-profit  partner in Longmont’s efforts to conserve water.
  • Receive a rebate for upgrading your sprinkler equipment, select this link to learn more. 
  • It is recommended to water lawn or gardens no more than two days per week.
  • Water lawns or gardens between the hours of 6 pm and 10 am.
  • Adjust irrigation heads to avoid over-spray onto the sidewalks and streets.
  • Adjust the automatic irrigation controller at least once per month to account for changes in weather.
  • Consider installing a rain shutoff device; at the very least, don’t water when it’s raining. Rebates are available here.
  • Water deeply for deep root growth. Use cycle irrigation, with an hour between cycles, to allow water to soak into the soil and reduce runoff.
  • Select sprinklers that water evenly, in a low pattern, and with large droplets. Rebates are available for MP rotator sprinkler heads.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean decks, patios, and driveways.
  • Wash your car with soapy water from a bucket. Only use the hose to rinse.
  • Mulch between plants in your garden to help retain moisture.
  • Visit the Colorado State University’s Cooperative Extension website for more great tips for getting a green lawn while still reducing water use, including information for watering during drought and/or watering restrictions.

You Can Landscape AND Conserve Water

Longmont’s nonprofit partner, Resource Central, offers many resources to help homeowners conserve water and still create beautiful outdoor spaces:



Your HOA must allow residents to use xeriscape landscaping if they so choose. Senate Bill (SB) 13-183 Water Conservation Bill, states that HOAs are prohibited from creating restricting covenants that forbid xeriscape or drought tolerant vegetation or require ground covering consisting of only turf. Additionally, HOAs cannot levy fines or violations for failure to water turf when drought restrictions are in place.

It is important to note that the homeowner cannot dump a truck load of rock in their yard and call it Xeriscape, nor allow their landscape to die due to neglect. HOAs may adopt and enforce design or aesthetic rules that require drought-tolerant vegetative landscapes or regulate the type, number and placement of drought-tolerant plantings and hardscapes that may be installed on the unit owner’s property.

Rain Barrels

Homeowners can legally use rain barrels in Colorado according to HB 16-1005 (Rain Barrel Bill), which passed in August 2016. Use is allowed under the following provisions:

  • Single family or multifamily (with four or fewer units) may collect precipitation off their roof into a rain barrel.
  • The water collected must be used on the property where it was collected,
       and it can only be used for outdoor purposes, such as lawn watering and gardening.
  • Rain barrels must have a seal-able lid and be located above ground.
  • No more than two rain barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons or less.
  • Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) may not prohibit rain barrels.
  • Collected water may not be used for drinking or indoor use.

Smart Lawn Watering

For water-wise lawn watering and outdoor water conservation, the City suggests following the lawn watering schedules recommended in the Water Supply & Drought Management Plan and outlined below.

Suggested Voluntary Lawn Watering Schedule

  • Sunday:  Residential (single family and duplexes) EVEN Addresses
  • Monday:  No Watering
  • Tuesday:  Non-Residential (commercial, multi-family, multi-family, homeowner's associations, other)
  • Wednesday: Residential (single family and duplexes) ODD Addresses
  • Thursday:  Residential (single family and duplexes) EVEN Addresses
  • Friday:  Non-Residential (commercial, multi-family, multi-family, homeowner's associations, other)
  • Saturday:  Residential (single family and duplexes) ODD Addresses

Cycle Irrigation 

Longmont's clay soils can only absorb a limited amount of water at one time. Cycle irrigation reduces runoff and allows more water to be absorbed, resulting in deeper root growth and more drought-tolerant lawns.

Cycle irrigation is a lawn-watering approach that uses multiple start times, running through a multiple cycle of zones more than once per day. For example, instead of watering an entire zone for 20 minutes, set up three start times of 6 minutes each for a total of 18 minutes or two start times of 10 minutes each for a total of 20 minutes. Set start times so that there is an hour in between cycles, and adjust the length of time you water each zone so that no runoff occurs.

Sample Cycle Irrigation Watering Schedules

Start Time

Number of minutes per zone

Total minutes per zone

Alternate 1

1:30 am


3 am


4:30 am



Alternate 2

2 am


3:30 am



Don’t Forget Your Trees!

The City of Longmont publishes an informative brochure to guide residents on watering trees during the Fall, Winter, and a drought. 

Businesses Can Conserve, Too!

Resource Central, a nonprofit partner with the City of Longmont, offers FREE sprinkler inspections in qualifying water districts to businesses and commercial properties.

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