DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Centennial Water Board of Directors has moved some Douglas County communities into Stage One drought restrictions starting Wednesday.

The decision was made during a special board of directors meeting held on July 6 and impacts people who live in the Centennial Water service area. The service area includes the communities of Highlands Ranch, Solstice and the Northern Douglas County Water and Sanitation District.

The watering restrictions go into effect on Wednesday, July 20.

What is a Stage One drought restriction?

Outdoor irrigation will now be limited to two days per week according to the Centennial Water’s schedule.

Residents must follow this schedule for their outdoor irrigation. (Photo: Centennial Water)

Centennial Water said that existing water conservation rules are still in place. This means residents cannot water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Hand watering trees and shrubs is allowed if a hose is held and equipped with a shut-off device, but they cannot be watered during the same time frame of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

City water features will also be turned off during the restriction period. The interactive fountain at Civic Green Park, the decorative water features at Central Park, playground water at Big Dry Creek, Dad Clark, Foothills, Paintbrush, and Pronghorn parks will all be turned off.

Why are these communities under drought restrictions?

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Douglas County has been in a drought since September 2021. As of July 5, Centennial Water said their service area has moderate drought conditions. Board members said they have kept a close eye on the conditions and made the decision to move into Stage One restrictions.

“Sometimes we have to take steps in the short-term to protect against the uncertainties of current drought conditions. Moving into Stage One restrictions is an example of this,” said Sam Calkins, general manager. “Implementing water conservation measures now not only helps with current conditions but will also better position Centennial Water as it moves into another potentially dry year in 2023.”

Customers in the service area are encouraged to cut water use by 15% to 20%.

Will I be penalized if I don’t follow the restrictions?

According to Centennial Water, customers who are found to be in violation of the restriction rules could be subject to a fine. Centennial Water provided the following examples of violations:

  • Watering during restricted hours
  • Broken irrigation system
  • Open hose
  • Excessive water waste
  • Leaks

All fines will be added to the customer’s water bill. First offenses will receive a warning, but the fifth offense could cost residential customers $500 and commercial customers up to $6,000.

“Our board, delegates and staff understand the need to cut back on water use in the community and we are partnering with Centennial Water to reinforce the importance of conserving water,” said HRCA General Manager Mike Bailey. “It’s ok if your lawn turns golden because that means you’re doing your job by conserving water and we applaud you.”

The board of directors will meet again on July 27 to decide if they should implement a previously approved drought rate. If passed, rates for customers who exceed their water budget will see a bill increase.

For more information on the Stage One drought restriction and the guidances implemented, visit Centennial Water’s website.