Water Conservation

Goals

  • Responsible Use: To reduce per capita total water use in Golden by at least 15% by 2030.
  • Drought Planning: To develop a resiliency plan by 2020 to prepare for at time where Golden’s and Colorado’s climate may be substantially warmer and drier than it is today.
  • Resource Recovery: To develop and implement a plan by 2020 where Golden’s surplus water is used effectively not only to manage the cost of water and sewer services, but to enhance the environment in Golden and elsewhere in our watershed. And to recover resources from the city’s wastewater by 2030.
Water Conservation and EfficiencyHow is Golden achieving these goals?

The City of Golden is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of water conservation and helping its residents use water more efficiently.

There are many simple ways that you can increase your water savings by using water more efficiently in your home and yard.

Please refer to the Water Conservation and Efficiency story map for additional information.

Water Conservation Programs

Grass to Garden Turf Replacement Program

The Grass to Garden program makes it easy for residents to beautify their landscape and save water by removing their grass and replacing it with a FREE Garden In A Box or other low-water landscaping. This innovative program equips residents with the knowledge, resources, plant materials, and landscape design know-how needed to transform a portion of their lawn into a thriving Xeriscape garden – without needing to spend thousands of dollars to hire a professional. The Turf Replacement Program is a Sustainability Initiative-funded water conservation program available this fall. Approved residents who remove a 200 sq. ft. (or more) area of lawn are eligible to receive a free Garden In A Box and professional landscape consultation.

The steps are simple!
STEP 1: Remove it. After approval into the program, remove existing and maintained water-thirsty grass.
STEP 2: Replace it. Replace it with a water-wise alternative
STEP 3: Save. Save water and money on your landscape

To learn more and apply, complete the online application. The application deadline is August 23.
For more information visit Resourcecentral.org/g2g or email goldensustainability@cityofgolden.net.

Slow the Flow – Free Sprinkler System Inspections

What is Slow the Flow Colorado?
Resource CentralSlow the Flow Colorado is a free sprinkler inspection program available to Golden water customers. Residential, HOA and commercial properties are eligible. The sprinkler inspections – also known as irrigation audits – are conducted by trained water auditors.

Why should I participate?
  • It’s a professional service, subsidized by the City of Golden and provided at no charge to you, with substantial benefits to your landscape.
  • Receive a customized watering schedule for a green, long-lasting landscape – for free!
  • Learn practical, easy, do-it-yourself sprinkler maintenance.
  • Learn how to maximize the life of your system.
  • Do your part to conserve Colorado’s water!
  • Learn how to improve your system’s performance. 

How much does the inspection cost?
Nothing. Golden has partnered with the  Resource Central to make this popular program free.

How long will it take?
The entire process will take about 2 hours. 

When can I get an inspection?
Inspections are scheduled from June until August annually.

Who will do the inspection?
Professionally-trained water auditors scheduled by the Center for Resource Central.

What happens at the inspection?
A sprinkler inspection includes the following:

  • SprinklerA visual inspection to pinpoint any problems in your sprinkler system.
  • Tests to measure the precipitation rate of your sprinkler system.
  • Tests to determine how evenly the water is covering the intended area.
  • Soil sample to determine root depth and soil type.

What will I get after the inspection?
You will receive a customized watering schedule as well as recommendations and tips to make your sprinkler system more effective and efficient. Plus, get resources for improving your landscape and keep it beautiful and healthy.

Steps To a Free Inspection

1. Review your eligibility
If you receive water from the City of Golden AND you have an operating underground irrigation system, you are eligible.

2. Request an Inspection

A limited number of inspections are available – sign up early!

3. Schedule an Inspection
Upon receipt of your request you will be contacted to set up an individual 2-hour appointment with a trained water auditor at your home.

Garden in a Box

Bees n Blooms Garden in a Box

Every spring, the City of Golden and Resource Central offer an easy, fun and affordable way to create beautiful, water-conserving gardens through the purchase of a Garden In A Box kit.

Garden In A Box, a selection of professionally designed, perennial gardens that use Xeric (low water) plants, offers residents a simple approach to an eye-catching yard. These affordable, do-it-yourself garden kits come with starter plants, a Plant and Care Guide, and plant-by-number maps. Gardens are offered by City of Golden in partnership with Resource Central in support of our community’s commitment to water conservation.

2019 gardens are now on sale! Visit, the Garden in a Box website to shop for your perfect garden today.

City of Golden Parks Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

Xeriscape (ZEER-i-scape) is not one particular style, but an attractive, sustainable and water-efficient landscape based on seven water-saving principles.

Why Xeriscape?
Located in a semi-arid region, Xeriscape is important to Golden. About 50 percent of our water is used for watering gardens and lawns, but a well-planned Xeriscape reduces water use by up to 60 percent.

Garden Design
Golden’s Xeriscape demonstration garden features plants with a variety of colors and seasonal interest. The demonstration gardens were created with garden kits from Resource Central’s Garden in a Box program.

Learn more about the program and specific information about each garden by viewing a Demonstration Garden Story Map, showcasing the different Garden In A Box kits available.

City of Golden Parks Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

Xeriscape (ZEER-i-scape) is not one particular style, but an attractive, sustainable and water-efficient landscape based on seven water-saving principles.

Why Xeriscape?
Located in a semi-arid region, Xeriscape is important to Golden. About 50 percent of our water is used for watering gardens and lawns, but a well-planned Xeriscape reduces water use by up to 60 percent.

Garden Design
Golden’s Xeriscape demonstration garden features plants with a variety of colors and seasonal interest. The demonstration gardens were created with garden kits from Resource Central’s Garden in a Box program.

Learn more about the program and specific information about each garden by viewing a Demonstration Garden Story Map, showcasing the different Garden In A Box kits available.

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 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 non-potable drip irrigation. The fruit trees are available to the public for picking fruit when ripe. Residents are encouraged to stroll through the area and learn about climate-wise landscapes in Golden.

Native Revegetation

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

Xeriscape Gardening

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.

Xeriscape Garden1. 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.

Additional Resources

The following brochures offer tips and ideas to help you in your water conservation efforts.

COG Mesa

 Golden has 402 acres of open space
and maintains 253 acres of parks right within the city itself.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa