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Water Conservation

closeup of dew droplets on a leaf

The Water Conservation Division’s work plans are driven by the DPR GamePlan, GreenPrint Denver & Executive Order 123, DW Tap + Smart Plan and DPR’s Water Conservation Plan. Core initiatives include Water Conservation program management and Drought Preparedness planning, water usage billing and reporting, data management and analysis, water conservation plan review, irrigation standards management, and research and implementation of new technologies, Denver Water coordination, training for staff, updates to management and citizens which can include presentations, articles and annual reports, budget management of operations as well as Capital Improvement Program expenditures,  recycled water conversions, and improving understanding of plant/water/soil relationships through the leadership of the City Park Greenhouse.

Download the Denver Parks & Recreation Water Management Plan (PDF)

Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) irrigates parks in compliance with Denver Water Summer Operating Rules (

If you see watering in the parks occurring between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. the following may be occurring:

    • Irrigation Start-up:  Between April 15th to May 31st, DPR starts-up its extensive park system’s irrigation.  Start-up of irrigation often includes turning on zones to flag heads that need repair.  During start-up, you may briefly see zones turned on outside the water window.
    • Establishment Watering:  Construction projects occur frequently within the parks system.  As part of many construction projects, installation of new plant material including seed or sod may occur.  Establishment watering may occur for 21 days after a plant is first installed.  During establishment watering periods, you may see zones turned on outside the water window.  For a list of all on-going Parks construction projects, review the current project list.
    • Water Management Programming:  DPR is building out a system of smart controllers to assist with water management.  Currently 25% of the parks system is using smart controllers that allow staff to control irrigation from a centralized computer.  The other 75% of controllers are standalone controllers that must be individually visited to program.  Programming controllers accurately may necessitate Parks staff to turn on a zone shortly to correctly identify equipment and location.  During new programming, you may briefly see zones turned on outside the water window.
    • Leaks/Broken Equipment:  DPR maintains nearly 3,000 acres of irrigated land with over 8,000 irrigation heads for each Technician.  An irrigation system can be over 40 years old in certain parks.  Leaks or broken equipment due to equipment age or vandalism may occur.  Please contact 3-1-1 to report consistent leaks.  Please make sure to indicate an exact location so that our Parks staff can quickly and efficiently troubleshoot and fix the problem.

We carefully examined water use at 30 Denver recreation centers and 6 outdoor pool facilities to determine what cost-effective water conservation measures could be employed to reduce demand. Download the full report.

Working with Denver Environmental Health, Denver Public Works and Denver water, we developed a lake management and protection plan. Download the full report.

The  Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study 

is a project to identify restorative improvements to three major urban waterways (Harvard Gulch, Weir Gulch, and the South Platte River from 6th to 58th Avenues) in the City and County of Denver: sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), City and County of Denver (CCD), and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Learn more.

study area map including south platte river, weir gulch and harvard gulch