Reducing Water Usage in Boulder

The Water Conservation Program offers support services to City of Boulder customers who want to be more efficient with their water use. Using water efficiently and eliminating leaks can help reduce your water utility bill while also supporting the Boulder community to be more sustainable.

Did You Know?

Nearly one trillion gallons of water are wasted each year in U.S. homes in preventable ways. The average household leaks almost 10,000 gallons of water per year, or the amount of water it takes to wash 300 loads of laundry.

In just 10 minutes, you can search your home for leaks and crack down on water waste.

Many common household leaks are quick to find and easy to fix!

Water Conservation Best Practices

Find a Water Leak

In the Home

  1. Toilets

    Listen for running water and conduct the food coloring test. Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank at the back of your toilet and let it sit for 10 minutes. If color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.

  2. Sinks

    Look and listen for drips from the faucets or in the pipes under the sink.

  3. Showerheads

    Look for a dripping showerhead and replace with a new one, if needed.

  4. Bathtub

    Turn on the tub, then divert the water to the shower and see if there’s still a lot of water coming from the tub; that could mean the tub spout diverter needs replacing.

  5. Sinks

    Check for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.

  6. Clothes washer or dishwasher

    Look for pooling of water under pipe connections, rust or other signs of leakage.

Outside the Home

The City of Boulder provides free irrigation consultations through Resource Central that can help you identify obvious leaks in your irrigation system.

  1. Spigot

    Ensure tight connections with the hose and see if the hose washer need replacing.

  2. Irrigation system

    Check for broken sprinklers or nozzles spraying in the wrong direction.

How to Fix a Leak

  • WaterSense Fix a Leak website has many helpful video links that show how to fix these simple leaks.
  • If you cannot find a leak, or are having troubles fixing one, contact a certified plumber.

Outdoor Water Tips

There are many ways to reduce water outdoors and to be smart with your landscape. You can create your yard to promote pollinator habitat or reduce pollutants from entering our local waterways! Call water conservation staff today to learn more and explore some resources below:

  • When and How to Water Your Yard fact sheet from GreenCO explains how to water your yard the right amount
  • How Your Sprinkler System Can Save Water fact sheet from GreenCO explains how you can program your irrigation system to be more water efficient and maintain a healthy landscape
  • Yard and Garden Tips on Colorado State University Extension's website has great tips and resources for any type of landscape.
  • Choose the Right Lawn on Northern Water's website can guide you in identifying what is the best seed for where your lawn is located and how it's used.
  • Rain Barrels are now legal in Colorado as of August 10, 2016. This House Bill 16-1005, was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper on May 12, 2016 and outlines the following key requirements:

    • Maximum of two rain barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons.
    • Permitted on single family or small multifamily (less than 4 units) properties.
    • Use sealable lid and screens to help prevent mosquito breeding and address water quality concerns.
    • Water collected from roofs can only be used for outdoor purposes.
    • Untreated rainwater is not safe to drink. Monthly draining is recommended.

Save Water in the Workplace


The Water Conservation Program partners with the county's Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) Program to provide commercial customers with FREE water and energy services. At Partners for a Clean Environment, a business sustainability consultant can:

  • Conduct a free water assessment at your business
  • Identify quick upgrades, such as installing low-flow fixtures
  • Connect you with tools, incentives and other resources
  • Engage employees in efforts to reduce water use

Visit Partner's for a Clean Environment main webpage at or call 303-786-7223 to learn more.

Audit Your Water Usage

Want to perform a self-evaluation at your property?

Work with EnergySmart

EnergySmart helps you:

  • Discover low- and no-cost energy-saving opportunities. Schedule a FREE EnergySmart Assessment for your business.
  • Upgrade your old or inefficient equipment. With EnergySmart advisors, incentives and utility rebates, energy efficiency upgrades have never been more cost-effective.

Get started saving today:

Conservation Tips for Businesses

  • Restaurants should only serve water when asked.
  • Have your system checked for leaks and get them repaired.
  • Teach water awareness to employees.
  • Use one glass per employee per day to cut down on dirty dishes.
  • Install toilet dams or displacement devices to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in the bottom of a quart or larger container and fill the rest of the container with water. Put the cap on and place the bottle in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanism. The container will save on each flush without impairing the efficiency of the toilet.
  • Check your toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons.
  • Install low-flow shower heads in shower facilities.
  • Use high-efficiency equipment and appliances.
  • Don't use or install ornamental water features unless they recycle water.
  • Start a conservation program.
  • Know where your water gets used. It is important to know how much water is being used for each of your firm's industrial processes and/or domestic needs. Monitor your water bills to see how you're doing.
  • Get your business PACE certified! PACE (Partners for a Clean Environment) recognizes businesses that implement conservation methods.