City Of Greeley
 

Water Budget

Water Budget Tools

Customers have asked for more information about water use. The Water Budget program provides that information on the monthly water bill. The Water Budget is the amount of water each customer should use if they are moderately careful, factors such as lot size and weather.

Also launching this month as a companion to the Water Budget is the WaterInsight pilot program. WaterInsight will help you use water better, analyze your long water use and provide a plan to make improvements that will save you money and water. Randomly selected water customers will participate in the program this year and it will be evaluated.

How does it work?
All you need to do is take time to review the graphs on your water bill. The graphic to your right shows how the water budget will appear on your bill.

Winter water use is based on indoor use, each customer receives an indoor budget of 7 thousand gallons per month. This is based on four people living at a residence, each person is assumed to use 55 gallons of water per day. This estimate is generous, the EPA suggests that 45 gallons per day is efficient. If there are more or fewer people at a residence, the customer should let us know to get the most accurate water budget estimate.

During the growing season, your budget is based on actual water needs of the lawn. This is based on the area that can be irrigated on your property. This is determined by the size of your lot minus the house and visible pavement. You can see map data of your property online. In addition, A 15% safety factor is added to increase the area and thus the water budget.

To help you plan, you will see a projected budget for the next month based on historical weather. Although the actual budget is based on the irrigation requirements of the lawn. To stay within budget, always take weather conditions into account when watering your lawn.

There are many benefits to a Water Budget program. It is a tool for you to save money and water by providing information on water use an discouraging waste. It also will help keeps water rates moderate by delaying water acquisition and expensive infrastructure upgrades for all rate payers by reducing water demand.

Please contact our Water Conservation hotline at 970-336-4134 if you have any questions regarding this program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine how much I should use indoors?
The indoor allotment is based on the number of persons per household multiplied by 55 gallons per person per day. For example, if you have four persons in your household, your indoor allotment (rounded up to the nearest thousand) will be 4 persons x 55 gallons per person x 30 days for a total of 7 thousand gallons.

To configure the Water Budget, every single-family residential account in the city is assumed to have 4 persons per household and thus have 7,000 gallons as their indoor budget. The average family size in Greeley is 3.24 persons per household so the budget thus has an allotment for winter watering of trees.

How is the outdoor Water Budget calculated?
The outdoor budget is based on weather and a generous estimate of the irrigated area on the property. The irrigated area was defined for each individual customer using Weld County Assessor data and aerial photography to account for structures and pavement. Each customer’s irrigated area is then multiplied by the irrigation requirement to determine that month’s Water Budget. The following table shows the historical irrigation water requirement by month and the actual 2012 irrigation requirements. These historic values can be used as a general guideline for watering. As you can see, in most months, 2012 was hotter and drier than usual, so the irrigation needs and thus the Water Budget were larger than historic.

Historic Outdoor Annual Allocation Used to Predict Next Month’s Use

Actual 2012 Allocation

Inches

Gallons/Square Foot

Gallons/Square-Foot

April

1.75

1.09

2.53

May

4.25

2.65

3.76

June

6.00

3.74

6.24

July

6.75

4.21

5.03

August

5.50

3.43

5.15

September

4.00

2.49

1.71

October

1.50

0.94

0.16

Total

29.75

18.54

24.58


Why is my water budget generous?
A generous budget gives the customer time to understand how it works. It also works to instill confidence in the targeted outreach. If someone is over their budget, we are certain they are really using water inefficiently. This also allows time for people to fix leaks, participate in water conservation programs, and change behaviors.

Is there a way to gauge my water use during the month?
Yes. Greeley Water will provide hand-held electronic water meter monitors to check water use. The units also have an optional leak detection alert, to help you find a household leak. The unit has a built-in magnet so it can be conveniently located on a refrigerator door. Please call (970) 336-4134 to reserve your water monitor. It will be programmed for your home meter and then it will be ready for you to pick it up. More information on the Orion water meters is available on this online users guide.

Will the Water Budget penalize those who do not use their water efficiently?
Greeley has not proposed penalty rates for customers who are over budget. If a participant goes over their water use target, water conservation programs or techniques may be suggested to increase efficiency and lower customer bills. Greeley’s water conservation program offers indoor audits, sprinkler system audits, rebates, and educational programs to help customers find and implement water saving solutions. Please call 970-336-4134 or visit our audit webpage to schedule an audit or to get additional information.

What are the benefits from a Water Budget program?
The Water Budget will identify gross inefficient use; and may reduce demand, reduce peak water use, and reduce citywide gallons per capita day (gpcd). This could delay expensive water system upgrades and the purchase of costly new water supplies. Most customers are moderately efficient. Only 8% of customers used more than 24 gallons per square foot (gpsf) for irrigation in the 2009 when only 18.5 gpsf was necessary. If those using more than 24 gpsf would improve efficiency to 18.5 gpsf, the city could save 470 acre-feet of water each year. If the City of Greeley were to purchase 470 acre-feet of water it would cost almost $4 million.

A Water Budget program will also make water customers more aware that outdoor water needs change monthly. Many people program their sprinkler system using a “set it and forget it” mindset. When they do that, the irrigation system waters the lawn appropriately for July, but over waters in the shoulder months like April, May, September and October when the water requirement is considerably less. Given the Water Budget information, customers could adjust their irrigation controller to match the needs of the grass.