Due to high temperatures and months without rain, the Fort Collins City Council adopted lawn-watering restrictions on July 22.
Watering days are designated according to the last digit of the homeowner’s address and watering is only permitted from 6 p.m. until 10 a.m., according to the Fort Collins Government Web site. Watering restrictions apply only to lawns, not to trees, shrubs or gardens.
Violating water restrictions multiple times may result in fines. First-time offenders receive a written warning, while repeat offenders may receive fines varying from $50 to $1000 per violation. Multiple offenses may result in discontinuing of water service.
The watering ban is intended to cut back on water usage in order to meet a ten percent reduction goal set by city officials.
Though the ban has aided in conservation of water, it has affected both homeowners and business owners alike.
“They’ve put a load on the looks of our lawns — it’s been difficult to maintain them,” said Lou Devens of Cole Real Estate and Investments.
The company put out notices to tenants concerning water regulations to ensure legal watering.
Fort Collins resident Derek Smith said he received a $50 fine for watering his lawn on an undesignated day.
“It was right when we first moved in,” he said. “We weren’t aware of the restrictions.”
Smith said although the restrictions are beneficial to the conservation of water in Fort Collins, the fines are severe.
“I think it’s good and it’s working well, but it’s a little harsh,” said Smith, who did not receive a warning before he was fined.
“You should receive a warning,” Smith said. “It’s harsh to fine you right away.”
Despite the fact that many lawns are turning brown, homeowners shouldn’t expect to see the restrictions lifted any time soon. John Morris, Vice Chairman of the Fort Collins Water Board, explained that any possibility of lifting the restrictions depends on the weather.
Denver has taken the water restrictions even further than Fort Collins by implementing a ban on all watering in October. Morris said a similar policy could be implemented in Fort Collins.
“Such a policy doesn’t seem unreasonable to me,” Morris said.
Extreme temperatures and below-average rainfall could extend throughout next year, in which case restrictions may be implemented once again. According to Morris, it would take more rain than usual to rule out another ban in 2003.
“We could see restrictions again next year if we don’t receive above-average rainfall,” Morris said.