Water Blog

Know the Rules on Water Conservation

Purple Coneflower and Russian Sage
Time and time again, we hear people say that they cannot do Xeriscape in their yard because their Homeowner’s Association (HOA) won’t allow it.  Did you know that Senate Bill (SB) 13-183 prohibits HOAs from restrictive covenants that forbid Xeriscape or drought tolerant vegetation or require ground covering consisting of any amount of turf?  Furthermore, HOAs cannot levy fines or violations for failure to water turf when drought restrictions are in place. 

An important caveat is that the homeowner cannot dump a truck load of rock in their yard and call it Xeriscape, nor can they allow their landscape to die, due to neglect. In either case Code Compliance may also enforce city landscape standards. 

In Greeley, at least 50% of the each yard area (front, side, back, parkway) must be covered with approved live plants such as grass, perennial flowers, shrubs, and trees. All of these categories include Xeric options. Please consult the Code Compliance Landscaping brochure for information on how to calculate the amount of yard coverage.

Lawn Installation in Greeley
Greeley residents must get a permit (variance) when planting new seed or sod to water the lawn outside of watering restrictions. Without a permit, residents must follow Greeley’s watering schedule or risk fines. Permits must be obtained when landscaping a new home or planting seed or sod in an established yard.  Fall is a great time to install a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn. 

WaterSense High-Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures
After September 1, 2016, SB 14-103 prohibits the sale of lavatory faucets, showerheads, and flushing urinals, tank-type toilets and tank-type water closets unless they are a WaterSense-listed plumbing fixture.  This will apply to new home sales as well as remodels in the state of Colorado.

WaterSense is the water efficiency certification that is similar to the more familiar Energy Star program for energy efficient appliances.  WaterSense products, unlike Energy Star are third party certified to meet the water efficiency criteria. 

Rain Barrels
Beginning in August of 2016, homeowners can legally use rain barrels in Colorado thanks to HB 16-1005.  The rain barrel bill that fail last year in the legislature passed this time around with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and passed the Senate in April due to some fine-tuning of the bill.  Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill in May.

What are the rules?

  • Single family or multifamily (with four or fewer units) may collect precipitation off their roof.
  • 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 sealable lid and 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.

If you want to learn more about the legislature, tracking a bill’s status or just how a bill becomes a law, check out the two links below:

Link to the General Assembly

Colorado's legislation tracker

Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1001 11th Ave, 2nd Floor
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
970-350-9805 fax

Water Conservation

970-336-4168 for Water Budget


Water 7am-3pm 970-350-9320
Sewer 7am-3pm 970-350-9322
after hours970-616-6260

Other Numbers

billing970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
start or stop service970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
water taste or odor970-350-9836
water pressure970-350-9320
water restrictions & violations970-336-4134
utility line locates811

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