There are many simple ways that you can increase your water savings by using water more efficiently in your home and yard.
The City of Golden is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of water conservation, and helping its residents use water more efficiently.
Water Conservation Programs
Each year, low-water garden collections are available at a low price from the Center for ReSource Conservation.
The 2013 garden selection included three perennial xeric garden kits – two for full sun, and one for the more shady areas in the landscape. Perennials ready for planting come in 4″ pots. Also available was the ‘Spaghetti Dinner’ vegetable garden, including basil, eggplants, tomatoes and many more. Depending on your selection, kits come with 15-33 plants, an easy to follow professionally designed ‘plant-by-number’ design, and a care and maintenance guide. For garden kit questions please call 303-999-3820 Ext. 222.
Garden kits are typically available for pick-up at the annual Greener Golden event.
Golden has always taken a strong position that we should only use the amount of water needed in any year despite the runoff forecast. This voluntary approach allows us to use less water year in and year out and it also educates our community on long-term conservation habits.
With snowpack well below average in Colorado this year, many communities are looking at ways to conserve water and mitigate the effects of drought. See our Drought Response Plan to read about the safeguards Golden has put in place to ensure our community has enough water to see us through even the driest of times.
Individuals can make a difference too. Below are resources to help you make sustainable decisions and use water wisely.
- Key Drought Messages for Homeowners (pdf)
- Drought Resources from GreenCO - GreenCO has compiled a wealth of information, including Drought-Savvy Landscape Practices, Environmental and Economic Benefits of Healthy Landscapes, and Tips for Saving Water Throughout Your Home.
Slow the Flow - Free Sprinkler System Inspections
The City of Golden sponsors the Center for ReSource Conservation (CRC) to offer free sprinkler inspections to Golden residents through Slow the Flow Colorado. Inspections occur during the summer irrigation season.
If you receive water from the City of Golden and you have an operating underground irrigation system, you may learn more about the program and schedule an audit by contacting the CRC at ConservationCenter.org or 303-999-3820 x217.
Native grasses honor our local landscape. They are adapted to our natural conditions and don’t require additional irrigation, fertilizer or maintenance once established. Care should be used when shopping for grass and wildflower seed. The seed mixes found at many stores contain introduced species, many of which are aggressive and can displace native vegetation. Make sure all species are listed and do not contain invasive species.
Local Seed Sources
Applewood Seed Company
Pawnee Buttes Seed, Inc.
Western Native Seed
We live in a semi-arid climate, with extreme temperatures, intense sunshine, high winds, and an annual average rainfall of approximately 16 inches. Despite these challenges, it is possible to have a beautiful and inspired landscape.
Over the past several years, “Xeriscape” has become a popular word. It is derived from the Greek word “xeros”, meaning “dry” and combined with landscape, to mean water efficient landscape design and practice. This gardening strategy allows you to create and maintain a varied and colorful landscape plan that uses drought tolerant and adapted plants. The term is often used to describe water efficient, water wise, or water conservative landscaping, but should not be misunderstood as “zeroscaping.”
The goal of using less water in your landscape is accomplished by tailoring a design to match your needs with the environmental conditions of your yard. Following a water conservative design leaves water available for other beneficial uses, in addition to reflecting significant savings on your water bill. Maybe it’s time to try something new!
The “Keep it Simple” Landscaping Basics
There are seven basic steps to successful water efficient landscaping. If you are planning on doing the work yourself, remember to keep things simple and set realistic goals for yourself.
1. Develop an overall practical design.
Incorporate rocks, drift wood, paths and high and low areas for variety. Think about what you want and why. How do you use your yard? What special features does it have? The time you put into this step will save you time later.
2. Be aware of your soil types and amend if necessary.
Native plant materials do not require rich soil but adding organic matter to soil boosts its capacity to hold moisture. This is a great place to put your compost to work.
3. Determine turf areas and most appropriate turf types for your design.
Try mixing miniature bulbs in your buffalo grass areas for early spring color.
4. Choose drought resistant plant materials.
There are hundreds of options including many native and non-native species that thrive in our semi-arid climate.
5. Choose what irrigation option is most efficient for your plan.
Many irrigation options exist, including drip lines, soaker hoses, etc.
6. Mulch heavily to maximize moisture retention and minimize weed invasion.
Organic mulch such as wood chips is preferable. Weed barriers may be used but do interrupt the natural processes that occur in soil. Rock mulch may be used but holds heat and evaporates the moisture we are trying to keep in the soil for our plants’ root systems.
7. Follow through with the necessary maintenance.
The time required here will be determined by your design.
Public Fruit Orchard
On August 2, 2012, student volunteers from local schools and foreign exchange students from Prague, Czech Republic, planted fruit trees and water conserving shrubs as part of a water-wise educational area at the new Golden Public Works Building. A local chapter of CISV International, which focuses on bringing students from around the globe together to focus on sustainability and being good stewards of the earth, provided the volunteer teens.
Fourteen youths, ages 13 to 15, including Bell Middle School student and Golden resident, Noah Ewers, helped to plant plum, cherry, apricot, and apple trees along a pathway from the Golden Community Center to the Community Garden. The area also features other native, xeric, or low-water shrubs and grasses and water-efficient nonpotable drip irrigation. The fruit trees will be available to the public for picking fruit as early as summer 2013. Residents are encouraged to stroll through the area and learn about climate-wise landscapes in Golden.
Colorado State University Extension offers many great resources for living water-wise in Colorado.
The following brochures offer tips and ideas to help you in your water conservation efforts.