Castle Rock residents have proven their commitment to water conservation. Together, over the last several years, our water use has been reduced by 20%. The Water Use Management Plan (PDF), a comprehensive set of guidelines, was created to promote the efficient use of water and help meet conservation goals. Advancing our vision to be a national leader, Castle Rock Water was featured in the Colorado Water Plan, promoting its conservation measures in the community.
Watering restrictions are in place May 1 through Sept. 30.
Water used for outdoor landscaping accounts for the largest demand on Castle Rock’s water system. Water conservation is critical to ensure adequate supply during peak summer demand. Schedules provide a means to manage system pressure and fire flow capacities and apply to residential and commercial buildings as well as public-use areas. In order to manage the demand on the Town’s water system during the irrigation season, watering is limited to every third day during designated months. Learn more about Castle Rock’s watering schedule.
Water 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
During the restriction period, outdoor irrigation is permitted before 8 a.m. and / or after 8 p.m. for residential customers. More than 20% of water from sprinklers can be lost due to watering during the hotter and windier parts of the day. (Non-residential customers' schedule is 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.)
Watering while holding a hose in your hand is allowed at any time and on any day, as long as water waste is not occurring. Hand watering does not include irrigation with a hose and sprinkler nor manual operation of an automated irrigation system.
Pressure washing is allowed only with high-efficiency and low-water-use equipment and with no excessive water runoff.
Washing your car
Using a commercial car wash is suggested. Commercial car washes recycle the water. However, homeowner car washing is allowed with automatic shut-off nozzles, recommended use of a wash bucket and sponge, and no water waste.
Fountains are allowed and should be recirculating and designed to minimize evaporation.
Playing in the sprinklers
Water used for entertainment is allowed as long as a person is present and water waste is not occurring (such as water running down the street.)
Due to water rights in Colorado, rainwater collection has strict regulations. In 2016, it became legal to capture rainwater in Colorado with up to two 55-gallon rain barrels to be used for outdoor purposes. Learn more and find workshops through Douglas County.
Preferred xeric plants
The Landscape and Irrigation Performance Standards and Criteria Manual identifies plants that perform well in our semi-arid, high desert climate and is used by professional landscapers in Castle Rock. A condensed version to assist in landscape design can be found on our Plant Finder.
Installing a new lawn
When planning to irrigate a new landscape, customers may want to obtain a temporary irrigation exemption, regardless of the time of year. This exemption allows residents to conduct watering on any day as needed up to 21 consecutive days for new turf, and up to 30 consecutive days for seed or other plant material. This exemption does not affect the volume of water allowed, only the days in which to apply it. Watering time restrictions, if in place, still apply. Customers will be charged for the water used based on individual water budgets, so watering wisely is advised! This temporary irrigation exemption is not applicable during July. This means that exemptions issued in June will not carry over into July. To get the full 21-day exemption for sod installation, exemption applications should be received by June 9. To get the full 30-day exemption for seed, exemption applications should be received by June 1.
Nonresidential and public areas
Permissible hours of irrigation for regular nonresidential, common and public areas shall be between the hours of 12 a.m. through 8 a.m. on their designated watering day. Customers west of Interstate 25 irrigate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and customers east of I-25 irrigate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Nonresidential customers include all properties that are not single-family residences. Town properties, including Town-owned parks, can irrigate 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. on their designated watering day.
ColoradoScape turf regulation
Beginning January 2023, all new residential development is prohibited from installing any lawn turf in the front yard and is limited to 500 square feet in the back. Commercial spaces are prohibited from having turf in non-essential areas. Instead, a ColoradoScape landscape will be required, incorporating low-water plants and materials. ColoradoScape aims to add color and versatility to outdoor landscapes, keeping a specific Castle Rock aesthetic, so typically 75% plant coverage (at maturity) is required.
Kentucky Bluegrass ban
In 2018, new development (residential and commercial) were no longer allowed to install the high-water use Kentucky Bluegrass. Other alternatives, such as Texas Hybrid and native grasses that take less water, are recommended.
The purpose of enforcement is to maintain the integrity of the water system during peak periods, to ensure positive pressure exists and fire flow demands are met. This code enforcement is conducted to protect the interests of the public and protect public health and safety. The focus of the program is to encourage compliance and educate; therefore, first violations are issued as warnings, with no surcharges applied. Subsequent violations are on a graduating scale. Water monitors, and all other Town of Castle Rock staff, are authorized to issue violations with appropriate documentation.
HOAs must allow xeriscape, according to State law. Passed in 2023, Senate Bill 23-1278 requires HOAs to allow homeowners to install low-water landscapes. There are a couple of stipulations. The HOA can enforce design guidelines including requiring 20% of the plantings be high water plants (e.g. turf grass). The HOA must allow at least 80% of the plantings in the xeriscape design be drought tolerant, if the resident requests. The law states that HOAs can prescribe the number of plants and coverage. The HOA can restrict artificial turf in the front yard, but not the back. The HOA can not require hardscape such as rock, paths or patios to cover more than 20% of the yard.
The bill also requires an association to permit the installation of at least 3 garden designs that are preapproved by the association for installation in front yards. Castle Rock Water has some designs that an HOA can utilize.